To mark International Women’s Day on March 8, Landscapes News is publishing a series of stories honoring women with a laurel for their dedication to improving the landscape. In this profile, Etienne Forcada of Mexican Civil Council for Sustainable Silviculture writes about Lucia Madrid. Check Viewpoint all week for more laurel recipients.
Lucia Madrid leads a project of integrated landscape management in the Valle de Bravo watershed, which is the main water supplier to Mexico City. She works as regional coordinator at a national nongovernmental organization, the Mexican Civil Council for Sustainable Silviculture.
Lucia designed a local mechanism of payments for environmental services with a landscapes approach, named PASMIT.
This mechanism supports local communities to improve land management activities including forestry, agriculture and cattle ranching, as well as to restore degraded areas and to improve water management.
There are 20 communities participating in this mechanism, and they develop annual landscape scale management operation plans that include actions to strengthen community governance, boost sustainable production systems and implement best management practices.
Thanks to PASMIT, local communities have changed the way they manage land.
Previously, communities would improvise land management activities according to subsidies or other opportunities.
Now, communities periodically analyze their landscape, and they plan land management activities according to collectively decided goals and objectives.
Also, the participating communities have improved their landscape governance strategies through increased transparency and accountability, improvement of their decision-making processes, an increased community control over forest management operations and through the process of collectively deciding land management initiatives and collectively evaluating them to improve them in an adaptive management cycle.
Three of the participating communities have obtained the Forest Stewardship Council certification for their sustainable forest management, and all of them are developing productive initiatives such as charcoal or timber production and ecotourism. With these initiatives they create jobs and obtain income for more than 2,000 families.
Lucia has led this experience since 2008; she coordinates a team of 12 people that works with forest communities and farmers and gives them technical assistance to implement their landscape scale management plans. They also have a fund-raising strategy to fund the implementation of this plans as a payment for environmental services and they are trying to engage water users and government agencies in this effort.
In 2013, this project won the Land for Life award issued by the U.N. Convention to Combat Desertification as a project that is combating land degradation.
Currently, besides the work with communities that own forests under a collective land ownership scheme (ejidos and agrarian communities), this project has worked with more than 400 farmer families implementing good management practices in agriculture.
Through these practices farmers reduce soil erosion, increase biodiversity in their lands and protect water quality.