Traditional Land Use Practices in Mexican Landscapes Promote Conservation of Biodiversity

Jorge Leon-Cortes, El Colegio de la Frontera Sur, San Cristóbal

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One of ECOSUR’s key research areas is analysis of the status of biodiversity in terrestrial environments in southern Mexico, including the use and condition of the region’s diverse ecosystems. Current land use practices in Southern Mexico still involve a good deal of traditional methods: semi-intensification of livestock has led to the promotion of silvopastoral systems where pastures, hedgerows, and other human-modified landscape elements dominate. Detailed ecological surveys and monitoring programs of key populations in Southern Mexico have shown that particular species and ecosystem processes may rely on the presence and management of specific habitats. Traditional land use practices in Mexican and other Mesoamerican landscapes are considered an important factor in the conservation of biodiversity: the presence of contemporary landscape elements is likely to counteract adverse effects of habitat loss and fragmentation.

About the Presenter: 

Jorge L. León-Cortés is the academic director of ECOSUR—San Cristobal campus (2006 to date) and leads the Population and Community Dynamics of Insects research group.  He is a full-time senior researcher at El Colegio de la Frontera Sur (ECOSUR), Mexico since 1999. He has a Ph.D. in ecology from The University of Leeds, UK; an MSc in animal biology from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM); and a Bachelors degree in biology from UNAM. For more than fifteen years, he has conducted assessments of insect faunas in tropical forest habitats and biodiversity assessments, analyzing relationships between insect-habitat associations, meta-population dynamics, conservation biology and landscape ecology. Previous academic stays include: University of Oxford, Museum of Nature, Natural History Museum (London), University of Leeds, Universidade de Sao Paulo, Instituto Nacional de Biodiversidad (INBio). He currently teaches 3-4 postgraduate courses per year and regularly advises postgraduate students. He was ECOSUR’s director of postgraduate studies from 2003-2006 and is a member of the National Research System (Level 1), as well as the Mexican Academy of Sciences. E-mail:

Presented on: 
April 20, 2011
Symposium 2011
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