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Orchid Brigade Program: Sustainable management of Mexican orchids with the communities of Oaxaca and Chiapas

Biól.Montserrat Castellanos Ramírez, UNAM.

In Mexico, there is a great diversity of orchids, particularly in the south- east zone of the country being Chiapas and Oaxaca the most biodiverse states. However, in this region, orchids face several problems, which threat their survival including deforestation, expansion of the agricultural and urban frontier, illegal extraction, and complex social, economic and environmental issues. To counteract these negative effects on biodiversity, the Department of Biodiversity Conservation in Chiapas, in charge of Dr. Anne Damon, has worked for 25 years to develop the conservation of orchids in their habitat with the participation of local communities. The Mexican Brigade for the Conservation of Orchids emerged in 2017 as a project inspired by motivating young people to promote the diversity and beauty of the orchid flora in Mexico to prevent its extinction. This group has been dedicated to the knowledge of orchids, their habitat and the relationship with humans. The results of these efforts include living collections (orchid gardens in communities), research, and close collaboration with rural communities, courses, and workshops.We have worked within the legal framework of Mexican permit system called units for environmental management (UMA) that deals with the conservation and sustainable exploitation of flora and fauna endangered species. This permit model allows to communities to make a profit through sales of native orchids derived from the sustainable production. For example, in vitro propagated orchids, crafts with orchid flowers, and local coffee that promotes the conservation of Mexican orchid species.Working with local communities on flora conservation in Chiapas and Oaxaca has been formidable since they have been actively involved in the learning activities. In this way, we have helped raise awareness about the importance of native orchids and their sustainable use.This approach has generated new perspectives about community work and the development of collective strategies that can be replicated in other regions for the ecosystems preserving.


Orchidacedae, conservation , communities , sustainable exploitation, enviromental management

Montserrat Castellanos Ramírez

Presentation within symposium:

S-36 IV Orchid Conservation Symposium

Orchid Brigade Program: Sustainable management of Mexican orchids with the communities of Oaxaca and Chiapas


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