Compacts between States and US/Mex after refs
USE AND LAND TENURE CHANGE IN THE CHIHUAHUAN DESERT ECOREGION.pdf
Land use and land tenure are important influences on biological diversity in the Chihuahuan Desert ecoregion. The conversion of forests and natural grasslands to grazing or cropland alters the habitats of many species. Irrigation of drylands or drainage of wetlands also transforms the ecosystem in ways that affect biodiversity. The intensification of agriculture through increased use of agricultural chemicals poses pollution risks. Industrial developments such as mines and smelters can result in vegetation loss and pollution. Urban development encroaches on natural and agricultural ecosystems. Changes in land use and management are being driven by a range of social factors including demographic,political, technological and economic conditions, especially changes in agricultural policy.
Until the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, for which 1998 makes the 150th anniversary, most of the Chihuahuan Desert shared a common history of Indian and colonial Spanish settlement.
geography of the region, especially the availability of water, has and continues to define settlement and land use patterns
Prior to the arrival of Europeans inthe Americas, the peoples inhabiting the Chihuahuan Desert region consisted primarily of small bands of hunters and gatherers engaged in seasonal rounds, although some groups established permanent settlements where resources permitted. The collective term for these groups was ?Chichimec?, although they spoke many different languages.
established settlements along the Rio Grande and Pecos River Valleys inNew Mexico and West Texas, and the San Pedro River valley in Arizona, where water was plentiful and agriculture could be supported.
San Pedro valley contains one of the most important archaeological sites where there is evidence of the so-called ?Pleistocene overkill?- the hunting of megafauna by early peoples, perhaps to the level of extinction.
The Spanish were initially intimidated by the harsh environment and peoples of the Chihuahuan Desert, but the discovery of silver in Zacatecas in 1546 initiated a northward movement of Spanish settlers following the silver ores of the sierra Madre Occidental culminating in the famous mining settlement of Parral established in Chihuahua in 1631 (Figure 3)
mines became the markets for a livestock industry that was established on the high grasslands of the Chihuahuan Desert. By the beginning of the 18th century ranchers and missionaries, supported militarily by Presidios, had crossed the Rio Grande into Texas, and stock raising and mining had become the main land uses of northern Mexico (West and Augelli, 1989).
The Apache were one of several Indian groups who resisted Spanish domination and attacked settlements to obtain cattle and other resources.
By the end of the colonial period human activity had already altered the biodiversity of the Chihuahuan Desert. Impacts included possible over hunting of large mammals at the end of the ice age, the intentional and accidental use of fire in the grasslands, the domestication of maize and other crops, early irrigation systems, introduction of cattle and other exotics by the Spanish, and the destruction of forests for mining. European dominance also shifted attitudes to nature from a relationship based on use values and flexible or communal definitions of property to the view of resources as commodities to be bought and sold, and to private, often enclosed, property. The Catholic religion also rejected the animistic and pantheistic traditional beliefs of indigenous peoples that often resulted in a respectful rather than exploitative relation to nature.
When Mexico gained independence from Spain, the Mexican government continued to offer generous land grants to those willing to defend the area against Apache attacks. This created an alliance between peasants and hacendados (large landholders)
abolition of communal land ownership that transformed many Indian holdings into private property (Chihuahua 1825; Zacatecas 1825; Sinaloa and Sonora 1828). The national-level Ley Lerdo (1856) continued these policies, providing for the breakup of communal land holdings and the expropriated land holdings of the Church
land laws of 1875 and 1883 that permitted individuals to acquire vacant or untitled lands also reinforced the concentration of land holdings. Indigenous groups were often forced onto more marginal lands, into the Sierra, or became peon laborers on the large haciendas because they could not prove legal title.
The nineteenth century also saw massive land transfers from Mexico to the United States through a series of wars and treaties. When Texas won independence from Mexico in 1836 its territory included some of the Chihuahuan Desert. Most of New Mexico and northern Arizona was acquired from Mexico after the U.S. ? Mexican War (1846-48) through the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.
autonomy of the northern states of Mexico was reduced with the construction of railroads in the late 1800?s
Mexican ores, often exploited with American capital, were shipped to the U.S. for smelting.
irrigation in the Laguna region of Coahuila and Durango created a booming cotton industry; from 1880 to 1890 production quintupled, and it doubled in the following decade (MacLachian and Beezley 113).
The shift to commercial export agriculture put pressure on domestic food supplies; by the 1870s protests, such as food riot in Durango involving 4000 people (Maclachlan and Beezley 189), started to break out. From the 1890s onwards. Mexico continually imported staple foodstuffs and the concentration of land eliminated the possibility of subsistence agriculture providing any sort of safety net.
1907, a recession in the U.S. dragged the Mexican economy into a downturn ? a coincident agricultural crisis precipitated by floods and droughts (Katz 64)
From 1910 to 1917 the Mexican Revolution raged across northern Mexico, with leaders such as Zapata, Villa, Carranza and Madero competing for power. The Revolution devastated the countryside as rural people abandoned their crops, government support disappeared, and economic instability increased.
[new constitution after rev]
rejection of foreign ownership of land and resources such as copper and oil, the restitution of land to indigenous peoples, the redistribution of land in the form of communal ejidos, and the expropriation of church property.
1952, labor migration from Mexico to the United States was formalized through the Bracero guest farm worker program, resulting in millions of Mexicans traveling to work on US farms over the next two decades. This alternative employment opportunity resulted in the abandonment of some of the more marginal lands. This trend was exacerbated by the onset of the 1950s drought.
At the same time, however, the Mexican government, with international assistance from the Rockefeller Foundation, initiated a new agricultural development program to increase yields of wheat and maize through the use of improved seeds, irrigation districts of northern Mexico, where government programs distributed improved wheat varieties and fertilizer. In many cases, yields increased dramatically, and Mexican wheat production soared (Figure 7).
Green Revolution as a great success (Welhausen, 1976; Yates, 1981) pointing to benefits in improved nutrition, farm incomes, exports, and intensification ofland use (rather than conversion of undeveloped land). Others are far more critical, suggesting that unequal access to irrigated land, credit and technology resulted in only a few regions and people reaping the benefits, and that the new inputs of seeds, water, and chemicals damaged ecosystems through loss of diversity, salinization, and pollution (Wright, 1991).
agricultural intensification of parts of the Chihuahuan Desert has affected several important ecosystems. For example, the expansion of irrigation in the La Laguna area, and the use of agricultural chemicals has reduced and put at risk areas of importance to migratory birds and amphibians.
Metal production in Northern Mexico grew considerably from 1920 to 1940, especially in Sonora and Chihuahua where gold [silver, copper iron]
Similar patterns of land use based on mining and cattle are found in the US portion of the Chihuahuan Desert. Anglo settlement of the U.S. portion of the Chihuahuan Desert occurred mainly after the U.S. Civil War
rich river valleys and graze livestock on the extensive grasslands after the war. The Homestead Act of 1862 gave settlers 160 acres, but allotments were later expanded to 640 acres by the Desert Land Act of 1875 (later reduced again to 320 acres) to allow for livestock grazing, which at the time was necessary for survival. Ineffective regulation of grazing let to and continues to degrade the ranges in all states.
After the Civil War cotton emerged as the major crop in the region.
Specialized cash-crop farming became the norm.
many of the new homesteaders were mid-westerners who imported their crops, like wheat, barley, corn, beans, and hay, and their farming techniques to the more delicate lands of the Chihuahuan Desert, leading to devastating effects in the 1930;s when inappropriate use of the land let to the Dustbowl.
Cotton, spin-off industries, value-added products like oil and textiles
increasing number of sharecropping
increasing number of people whose livelihood relied on agricultural production in the Chihuahuan Desert with fewer and fewer people owning the land and the means of production.
1878, barbed wire made its appearance on the range, and cattle could for the first time be controlled on individual land holdings. This led to the need to legally define boundaries in the Desert.
railroad (1891) spurred growth, expanded commercial agricultural, U.S. Cattle ranching boom in the 1880?s ? 1890?s as did corn and cotton operations
dominated the use of the majority of the land [= cattle]
[More copper]open pits (which came in the 1940s), the huge tailings, slag and waste dumps, and especially by the denuding and deforestation of surrounding areas.
1900 homesteading was ended
Arizona and New Mexico were still isolated from much of the US economy and the federal government held the majority of the land.
98% of Texas land was in private hands by 1895. Industrial development in Texas was spurred by the 1901 discovery of vast oil reserves at Spindletop.
1902 Reclamation Act brought ushered the construction of irrigation and flood control projects
Ground water was also tapped for the first time on an industrial scale
Agriculture expanded and contracted in boom and bust cycles in relation to the discovery and depletion of new sources of water
Elephant Butte Dam completed in eastern New Mexico in 1915, for example, spurred agricultural and urban growth.
Avalon and McMillan dams in the Roswell and Carlsbad
?Dust Bowl? of the mid 1930?s stripped the fields of the topsoil.
The government forced many farmers in West Texas and Eastern, New Mexico to retire their lands and sell the land to the land bank or BLM, or restricted them from using their lands under the Taylor Grazing Act of 1934 and the Soil Conservation Act of 1935.
Forest Service and the BLM focused on using the lands forest and grasslands were heavily used for livestock grazing and logging. Only the parks remained relatively unused although tourist pressures increased with more leisure time in the 1950s.
Changes in Mexican land use and land tenure in last 25 years. oats and alfalfa, has increased. Cotton acreage and wheat for export have declined... crop shift was from basic grains and beans into oilseeds, forage, and vegetables (Lorey, 1993)
wheat, maize and beans as a result of government subsidies, tradition, and lack access to water or credit for alternative crops.
illegal renting of ejido lands, especially grazing land and irrigated area, to larger landholders.
From ejidos wiki:
In 1991, President Carlos Salinas de Gortari eliminated the constitutional right to ejidos, citing the "low productivity" of communally owned land.
The change was largely a result of NAFTA, the North American Free Trade Agreement:
Entry into a free trade agreement with the United States and Canada required intense preparation for Mexico. To quell U.S. investors' fears of political upheaval (and thus, possible confiscation of foreign property), the authors of NAFTA included an extensive section on expropriation and confiscation. Mexico was also pressured by the World Bank and the United States to re-write Article 27 of its Constitution - a pillar of the new government that grew out of the 1910 Mexican Revolution - effectively doing away with the ejido system of collective land ownership. This opened up traditional Mexican territory for sale to foreign investors eager to buy up land. The ejido system had been a cornerstone of indigenous and peasant rights in the Mexican agricultural system. Eliminating ejido protections and privatizing traditional landholdings left the most marginalized populations even more vulnerable.
from Tolantongo wiki:
Cooperative Ejido Society of the Tolantongo Grottos). This association was formed 30 years ago by the 112 families that own the ejido (a type of communal property) (Bowman), called San Cristobal. This ejido has about 5,200 hectares, with only 40 open to the public. All workers belong to these ejido families and dress similarly, no matter what their job. While certain jobs do pay more, these rotate among members. Each family gets a vote in the affairs of the ejido. The project was launched in the 1970s with neither outside expertise nor government help and still functions without outside resources. A percentage of the resort?s profits are reinvested back into the enterprise.
1990 INEGI census includes 24,429,582.25 hectares of land within the Chihuahuan Desert. Of this area, 10% is reported as cropland, 88% as open pasture, and less than 2% as forest [in Mexico]
greats percentages of cropland are in the south pasturelands cover much of the northern two-thirds of the desert
northern states, the crop area is less than 6% of the total area (5.08% in Chihuahua, 5.83% in Coahuila, and 2.18% in Sonora). In the central region, the percentage of cropland increases to approximately 20% (19.86% in Durango, 22.75% in Nuevo Leon). The greatest percentages of cropland are in the south, where it is over 30T of the total land area (30.89% in Zacatecas, 36.34% in San Luis Potosi).
Plots are also smaller and ejidal, suggesting that more agriculture may before home consumption in the south.
central region, Durango has forest on 8.85% of its desert lands
cropland, about 60% was reported as actually sown with crops in the 1990-91 period. Of the total areas own throughout the year, almost 90% grows annual crops, and 15% perennials.
Sonora has the least cropped land, only 16.27% of the arable land
Perennials are most prevalent in the irrigated areas of the northern two-thirds of the desert region.
Twelve annual crops account for 88% of the total crops account for 88% of the total cropped area. During the spring-summer season, beans and maize comprise 42% and 34%, respectively of the total area sown.
Throughout the Chihuahuan Desert, the spring-summer planting season is the most important. Beans and maize are the two major crops in all of the states, though beans are particularly important in the south ? Durango (54.41%)
Maiz is the primary crop in the eastern statesof Nuevo Leon (68.77%
Cotton is grown almost exclusively in the north (Figure 17). It accounts for just over 12% of the total cropped area
Cotton production is significant for conservation because of the large amounts of pesticides that tend t be used on this commercial crop.
important in the north is sorghum, which is planted on 7.63% of the cropped land in Sonora, 6.81% in Chihuahua, and 4.72% in Coahuila
Oats are grown throughout the Chihuahuan Desert, particularly in the southwestern region (4.04% in Zacatecas, 2.70% in Durango) and in the north (2.06% in Sonora, 1.44% in Chihuahua and 1.28% in Coahuila). Most of the production occurs along the eastern and western edges of the desert. During the winter season, oats are an important crop in Sonora (10.70%) and Coahuila (3.20%) and are grown in smaller amounts in the other states. They are also primarily for animal feed.
Soybeans are grown only in summer and almost exclusively in Chihuahua (2.92%)
Barley is planted in the central region (2.71% in Durango, 2.02 % in Nuevo Leon)
winter, barley becomes more important in Sonora (3.98%
wheat grown primarily in the north (11.81% in Chihuahua, 3.9y% in Coahuila, 3.06% in Sonora)
Other annual crops (safflower, sesame, rice, and chickpeas) are grown in very small amounts in the region.
[Perennials like] Alfalfa is planted on 22.50% of the total cropped area in Sonora, 11.53% of the cropped land in Chihuahua, and 7.03% of the cropped land in Coahuila [for livestock, heavy water requirements]
pasture grasses such as buffel are also important in the north.
other major perennial crops (coffee, sugar cane, century plant or agave, oranges and bananas) are planted on smaller areas in scattered municipios throughout the desert region.
[Oranges South central]
[Sugarcane N / North Central]
Irrigation from surface water occurs on about 40% of the production units in the region, mostly on those under 100 hectares in size. Irrigation from ground water wells occurs on about 20% of production units, mainly those from 5 to 100 hectares in size. ? clustered in the central regions of the Chihuahuan Desert, primarily along the Rio Conchos
Groundwater is used on over 20% of the crop area in the north central region, and relatively little ground or surface irrigation is found in the southern and western margins of the region, except along the border with the US
[Water (discoveries/dams) for non livestock has been the limiting factor. The market has less effect on what is grown]
The Douglas Irrigation District in Cochise and Santa Cruz counties of Arizona is a good example. Recent legislation (1980) designated the district a non-expansion area for use of groundwater. Those farmers with access to capital have responded by diversifying their operations into year ? round vegetables in greenhouses and into the expansion of peach and apple orchards. Wheat, sorghum, and cotton remain important.
[Over last 30 years farm sizes have increased and total farms have decreased on average.]
[In rapidly urbanizing el paso, 3% decrease in farms]
[in dona ana farm size and total farms increased ~30%, more hobby farms]
Federal government controls more than 80% of the US Chihuahuan Desert including tribal and defense lands, as well as resource land managed by the Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, Fish and Wildlife Service, and National parks Service
[Military bases in southern New Mexico limit development. Also NASA. Missle testing. White Sands Missile Range (3200 sq miles, largest mil compound in country)] Holloman Air Force Base, White Sands Missile Range, and White Sands National Park
[2% of Texas is federally owned, Upper Rio Grande or Trans Pecos Texas is the Fort Bliss military base near El Paso, and Big Bend National Park]
New Mexico, the Rincon and Mesilla Valleys, crops such as chilies, onions, lettuce and tomatoes has put the region in a position to directly compete with winter vegetables from Mexico.
Cotton, grains, and feed crops remain important, especially in southeastern New Mexico and West Texas areas
West Texas remains almost exclusively rangeland, with the exception of Terrell County
Cotton production has decreased inalmost all areas where subsidized water sources are scarce or nonexistent, decreased 65%
Alfalfa also on decline
Irrigated acreage has shifted, Acreage doubled in Santa Cruz, AZ, and Ward and Terrell, TX, while it decreased dramatically in Presidio, Culberson, TX, and Grant and Hidalgo
Otero and Eddy counties, in New Mexico, increased vegetable production 1116% and 622% respectively. In neighboring Hidalgo (215%), Graham (291%) and Cochise (63%) counties farming increased ? increases in year-round production, mostly of chilies, onions, tomatoes, and lettuce
Orchard acreage increased as well, especially in Sierra (536%), Graham (325%), Santa Cruz (195%), Eddy (183%), Luna (111%), and Doña Ana (41%). These are fruit and pecan orchards, both high value crops.
There is extensive use of fertilizer and pesticides across the region, especially in those areas where cotton or vegetables are grown (Figure 32 and 33). These agricultural chemicals can pose risks to biodiversity.
In mexico Less than one percent of land in each municipio is in what is traditionally considered to be ?small? landholdings (less than five hectares).
Only a small part of the Mexican portion of the Chiricahuaregion is in agriculture (1.27% inthe municipio of Agua Prieta, Sonora; 3.95% in Bavispe, Sonora; and 5.98% in Janos, Chihuahua). Crops are planted on less than half of the arable land. The vast majority ofthe land in this region is in natural pasture (98.57% in Agua Prieta, 96.03% in Bavispe, and 79.68% in Janos).
Forest covers less than 1% in the two Sonoran municipios, while 14.13% of Janos is forested.
Mining in mexico, Other mine developments are planned between Cananea and Magdalena.
San Pedro valley is under heavy development pressure ? pressure on groundwater resources that are linked to the flow of the San Pedro River.
The WWF considers this region a terrestrial and freshwater priority site and ranks the threat to the ecosystem from human activity from medium to high. The threats identified by the Monterrey workshop include extraction of groundwater for agriculture, water diversions for agriculture, housing developments, overgrazing, illegal hunting and collecting activities, recreation, timber harvesting, municipal water pollution and the impact of mining.
Pasture is the main land use in these municipios at94.34% in Jimenez, 97.81% in Sierra Mojada, 85.80% in Mapimi, 87.09% in Tlahualillo
threats listed in Desert Conservation Workshop report include overgrazing of goats, sheep and pigs that compete with native herbivores for forage, illegal hunting, over collection of birds, cacti, and reptiles, timber harvesting, unsustainable harvesting of native plants, and groundwater pumping and water diversions for agriculture in southwestern portion of the area.
threats listed in the WWF Desert Conservation Workshop report include groundwater pumping for agricultural and municipal uses, water diversions from springs, channelization of streams feeding springs and wetlands. Gypsum mining, invasion of exotic species, illegal hunting, unsustainable harvesting of candelilla and cacti, and overgrazing by goats and horses.
major water users and often sources of pollution from fertilizers and pesticides.
Agriculture is no longer insulated from the market, and this fact has dictated many of the changes seen over the last 10-15 years.
Since the late 1970s, trade and agricultural policies have encouraged the expansion of agriculture for export markets
Increasing autonomy of Indian tribes has resulted in accelerated development on many tribal lands including mining, logging, tourist developments, and expansion of irrigation
US Forest Service has shifted from a policy than emphasized sustained yield timber harvesting and multiple uses for timber, recreation, watershed protection and wildlife, to a more ecosystem management approach. The Bureau of Land Management has tried unsuccessfully to raise grazing fees from (1.60 per cow calf unit) in order to recoup management costs and reduce overgrazing. The National Parks Service has been forced to implement people management in order to prevent overcrowding of parks and other protected areas.
Sagebrush Rebellion has transformed into the Wise Use movement that believes that resources are better managed and exploited in local or private ownership.
There is also growing opposition from the property rights movement that opposes ?taking? of land for environmental protection and federal or state interference in local land use policy.
In recent years, Mexico has been the leading exporter of fruits and vegetables into the U.S. (supplying a sixth of the total in some years), starting under the General System of Preferences program and continuing under NAFTA. Leading Mexican horticultural exports in the 1980s included tomatoes, peppers, cucumbers, onions, melons and squash.
Implementation of NAFTA began on January 1, 1994, immediately eliminating all non tariff barriers and some tariff barriers to trade in agricultural products with remaining tariffs to be phased out over periods of five, ten or fifteen years.
Under NAFTA, US exports of grains, including corn, wheat, rice and soybeans, have increased and are expected to continue to rise. US exports of cotton, pork, and chicken have also increased, putting pressures on Mexican producers
In 1997 Mexico accounted for more than $1.2 of $1.7 billion in fresh vegetable imports to the U.S. Tomatoes Accounted for approximately $517 million of Mexican exports to the US and 80% of U.S. tomato imports). (http//www.fas.usda.gov/htop/highlights/1998/98-04/fvimp97/98fvimp.html)
In response to large increases in the number of agricultural loans in default and bank seizures of farmland during the 1980s economic crises, the government reformed the rural credit system. The public agricultural credit bank, BANRURAL, is now operating on commercial principles, with the effect that credit availability has declined dramatically in recent years, particularly for those producers with limited collateral or financial security.
By the end of the 1980s, public and political awareness of environmental issues was relatively high in Mexico according to a 1989 study conducted for UNEP, which surveyed 400 members of the public and 52 decision makers about environmental problems (Harris, 1989). The study found that 61% of the public and 88% of decision makers think the environment has become worse in Mexico in the last ten years; more than 80% of both groups felt this poses a great danger to human health. Mexicans had higher levels of concern about environmental issues than most other countries. More than 90% of both the public and decision makers felt Mexico should be doing more to protect the environment and curb pollution, and that environmental protection should be a major priority for government. Again, Mexican attitudes were stronger than most other countries surveyed. However, 47% of the public and 23% of the decision-makers agreed that life in Mexico was so difficult that the environment was not a top concern.