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Mother Pelican
A Journal of Sustainable Human Development

Vol. 7, No. 12, December 2011
Luis T. Gutiérrez, Editor
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Using the Maya Nut tree to increase tropical agroecosystem
resilience to climate change in Central America and Mexico


Pauline Buffle1, Erika Vohman2


Originally published in Ecosystem & Livelihoods Adaptation Network (ELAN), August 2011
REPRINTED WITH PERMISSION

Author affiliations: 1 International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), 2 The Maya Nut Institute


ELAN-CASE3-Photo1
Climate predictions for Central America point to an intensification of dry conditions as a consequence of increases in temperature (around 0.6°C according to IPCC (Magrin et al., 2007)) to severe water stresses in Central America and more specifically along the Pacific side of the continent, and resource deterioration as a result of the combined impacts of climate change and demographic pressure by 2025. Brosimum alicastrum or Maya Nut is a wild-­-harvested forest product. This Nutritious seed is an excellent drought and climate change-­-resistant food for rural communities. The Maya Nut tree increases agro-­-ecosystem resilience to climate change by ensuring food security during periods of drought and after extreme wet events such as tropical depressions and even hurricanes. Its deep and extensive root system helps retain soil during natural erosion or extreme climatic events. Maya Nut trees play an important role in stabilizing riverbanks and maintaining flows from natural springs. The Maya Nut tree can be used to mitigate and adapt to the impacts of climate change and is also a good carbon sink.

Keywords: climate change adaptation, forest, Brosimum alicastrum, food security, women empowerment


Foreword to ELAN Case Studies

The Ecosystem and Livelihoods Adaptation Network (ELAN) is a global network working to enhance poor and marginalized people's resilience to the impacts of climate change. To do so, ELAN promotes an integrated approach to adaptation, defined as adaptation planning and action that adheres both to human rights-based principles and principles of ecosystem sustainability, recognizing their co-dependent roles in successfully managing climate variability and long-term change.

ELAN has developed a series of case studies on adaptation practices whose design and implementation approximate aspects of this integrated approach. The ELAN case studies showcase how nature-based adaptation can offer benefits to communities. They also demonstrate the complexity of pursuing a truly integrated approach to climate change adaptation and highlight elements of adaptation projects that lend themselves to an integrated approach. It is our aim that this enhanced understanding of an integrated approach may contribute to learning, knowledge exchange and capacity building, and in particular help practitioners to design and implement future adaptation projects that enhance poor and marginalized populations' capacity to adapt.

The research process consisted of examination of hundreds of projects and consultation with a diverse range of project managers. The selected ELAN case studies constitute the best available practices and approaches of projects that combine nature-based solutions with community benefits. Case studies represent a broad geographic scope and ecosystems. They are drawn from Africa, Latin America and Asia.

Ecosystem and rights-based integrated adaptation

Adaptation projects based on an integrated approach should meet the following criteria in the project design and implementation:

  • Promotion of livelihoods resilience;
  • Disaster risk reduction to minimize the impacts of hazards, particularly on the most vulnerable households and individuals;
  • Capacity strengthening of local civil society and government institutions so that they can more effectively support community, household and individual adaptation efforts;
  • Advocacy and social mobilisation to address the underlying causes of vulnerability including poor governance, degraded ecosystems, inequitable control and access to resources, limited access to basic services, discrimination and other social injustices;
  • Sustainable management, conservation, protection and restoration of ecosystems and biodiversity in order to maintain the multiple benefits provided by the ecosystems' goods and services.

What can we learn from the ELAN case studies?

An important lesson learned from the research process is that projects that fully embody an integrated approach to adaptation are few and far between. Indeed, despite extensive research, case studies that met all the above-mentioned criteria for an integrated approach and adhered to both human rights-based principles and principles of ecosystem sustainability could not be found. Why not?

First, the complexity of ecosystem goods and services and their links to climate change were often ill-considered during project design and implementation. Oftentimes a community-based adaptation project may simply entail community-based natural resource management – which is not the same as adopting a truly ecosystem management approach; in other cases the proposed measures had no real foundation in climate change; finally, most projects focused on restoring or conserving ecosystems under a static climate, rather than on finding ways of preserving ecosystems to help people adapt in the context of a changing climate, posing the project's long-term sustainability at risk.

Second, ensuring that adaptation policy and practice promote human rights-based principles was often not straightforward. , Although most projects were designed to increase community resilience to climate risks and deliver additional benefits to local livelihoods through nature-based solutions, only a few addressed the underlying causes of vulnerability and pursued true empowerment of vulnerable groups. In other cases, projects intending to promote a rights-based approach supported the rights of some community members but not others. For example, while the importance of involving women in adaptation initiatives was often underscored, efforts to address the special needs of other vulnerable groups (such as the elderly, the disabled, or children) were not always prominent components of the projects, particularly during the implementation phase.

Third, the ELAN case studies demonstrate the complexity of pursuing a truly integrated approach to climate change adaptation. While there are many projects that prioritized the promotion of human rights through community-based adaptation practices, environmental sustainability was not always equally guaranteed; at the same time, an ecosystem-based adaptation project may not always seek to ensure that the rights of the poorest and most vulnerable members of society are protected.

These and other lessons learned make an important contribution to generating and exchanging knowledge on integrated adaptation approaches. In addition, the case studies help to underscore the challenge and importance of integrating the full range of rights-based and ecosystem-based responses to climate change. An enhanced understanding of the complex interplay between these principles – informed in part by these case studies -- can help move us towards the goal of protecting the ecosystems that play a vital role in ensuring that poor and marginalized populations can manage and adapt to climate variability and change.

INTRODUCTION

Climate predictions for Central America predict an intensification of dry conditions as a consequence of increases in temperature (around 0.6°C according to IPCC (Magrin et al., 2007). Predictions also indicate a decrease in precipitation on the Pacific coast. Over time, these conditions are expected to extend to the Caribbean coast. Predictions for 2025 point to severe water stress in Central America particularly on the Pacific side of the continent; this will be accompanied by resource deterioration resulting from combined impacts of climate change and demographic pressure (Perez et al., 2007).

Adapting to climate change in Central America will require measures to protect and restore the functions of forests for the valuable ecosystem services they provide, most notably regulation of the water cycle. Destruction of forest ecosystems will exacerbate water resource degradation and vulnerability of rural people and communities that depend on them. Women will bear the majority of the burden of reduced access to water and food. Similar conclusions can be drawn for other water-­-dependent sectors including biodiversity and landscapes (Perez et al., 2007).

In Mexico, climate modelling scenarios estimate that rainfall in Yucatán will diminish by 5 to 10% by 2050 (4th National Communication from Mexico to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change – UNFCCC).

Along with increased risk of droughts, it is also expected that extreme rain events will increase in intensity and frequency, especially in the state of Chiapas. Nearly 30% of the fresh water in the region originates in the Lacandon Rainforest. The area stores water which contribute to regulating floods and climate variations. The forest generates nutrients that condition the fertility of the low plains of its rivers (4th National Communication from Mexico to UNFCCC). Similar climate predictions are foreseen for Guatemala, with increases in temperature and droughts expected, according to the country’s 1st National Communication to the UNFCCC.

Project context

Brosimum alicastrum or the Maya Nut tree, also called Ujuxte, Masica, Ojite, Ramón, Ojoche, Capomo or Mojote,1 among many other names, is a large tropical forest tree in the fig family. It grows to 45 m. It is native to tropical dry to humid forests below 1500m throughout the Neo-­-tropics, including South and Central America, Mexico and the Caribbean. It was once abundant and was probably cultivated by pre-­-Hispanic civilizations for food and to attract favoured game species. Today, it is highly threatened and even extinct in parts of its range as a result of extensive cutting for firewood and clearing for maize planting (Fitzpatrick, 2008).

Guatemala’s 1st National Communication to the UNFCCC notes that Brosimum alicastrum can survive in temperatures of between 18-32C° and with precipitation levels of between 100-2500 mm/year. It can survive on precipitation levels 250mm/year. This finding was confirmed by a recent study (2008) quoted in Mexico’s 4th National Communication to the UNFCCC. This report states that the B. alicastrum is one of five tree species whose properties make it able to adapt to predicted climate changes in tropical forests. The Brosimum alicastrum seed is a wild-­-harvested forest product. This nutritious seed, which can be dried and stored for more than five years, is an excellent drought and climate change-­-resistant food for rural communities. Entire villages have survived by eating the Maya Nut during war, drought and locust swarms; during the Contra war in Nicaragua and the wars in Mexico and Guatemala people were able to harvest Maya Nut from the forest to eat when it was not safe to plant or harvest their crops. However, in many areas it is no longer consumed regularly and today it makes up less than .05% of local diets (The New Agriculturalist, 2008).

The Maya Nut tree increases agro-­-ecosystem resilience to climate change by ensuring food security during periods of drought and after extreme events such as hurricanes. Its deep and extensive root system helps retain soil during natural erosion or extreme events and enable the tree to access deeper ground water. The Maya Nut tree plays an important role in stabilizing riverbanks and maintaining flows from natural springs.

Objectives

Maya Nut Institute2 (MNI) seeks to promote community-­-based conservation of Brosimum alicastrum by teaching rural and indigenous women about the benefits of the Nut and its Nutritional (composition table) assets. It is believed that it was a significant food source for Pre-­-Columbian cultures but its importance has faded over time. This project was driven by the realization that several Central American countries have high rates of malnutrition,3 despite presence of Maya Nut trees and ease of harvest and processing.

Maya Nut Institute focuses on women’s potential to contribute to reducing social, environmental and financial vulnerability. Adding value by drying, roasting and grinding the Nut to make ice-­-cream or bread (see more examples below) diminishes social vulnerability by empowering women as income generators and improves the nutrition of women and their families. Its massive root system increases the tree resilience to hurricanes and helps adapt to climate change by avoiding soil losses during heavy storms and protecting riverbanks from erosion. The tree is also resistant to droughts: one of the predicted impacts of climate change in the region.

Promoting the economic and food value of the Maya Nut helps to reduce deforestation for the planting of other crops. This in turn decreases the volume of carbon emissions thereby helping to improve environmental quality. In addition, it helps to reduce dependence on foreign aid and provides employment for women.

The Maya Nut Institute works to raise awareness about the Maya Nut tree in El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Costa Rica, Belize, Mexico, Jamaica, Cuba, Peru, Colombia and Haiti. The organization offers training on the uses of the Maya Nut for food and income. This training has motivated more than 500 rural and indigenous women to start 22 small businesses selling by-­-products of the Maya Nut.

Stakeholders

Women are the primary beneficiaries of Maya Nut Institute programmes because improved conditions for women result in improved conditions for the entire family. Women participate in and eventually lead the design, implementation and expansion of the programme. This builds their self-­-esteem and gives them confidence that they can solve family and community problems without outside help.

The Maya Nut Institute partners with local and national government institutions as much as possible. Other partners4 include NGOs, community associations, cooperatives, universities, local schools and private enterprises. More than 150 stakeholders are participating in the Maya Nut programme throughout the region.

Stakeholders

include national government ministries of agriculture, education and health in the countries where MNI works. The Institute also trains local NGOs and community groups to conduct Maya Nut training programmes in communities, thereby expanding the reach of the programme and providing communities with another tool to achieve positive social, environmental and economic impacts.

ADAPTATION STRATEGY n°1: EMPOWERING WOMEN AND CHILDREN TO INCREASE THEIR CAPACITY TO ADAPT TO EXTREME EVENTS

Training and awareness raising

Experience has shown that once people become aware of the food and market value of the Maya Nut, they develop an interest in conserving existing trees and planting more. Since 2001 the Maya Nut Institute has directly and indirectly raised awareness of more than 200,000 rural people about the value of the Maya Nut. Some 68% of these people had never eaten Maya Nut before and 57% had never even heard of it (Vohman, 2011).

Women

Maya Nut Institute (MNI) focuses on women as the caretakers of the family and their environment. The Institute teaches a one-­-day class for rural and indigenous women living near Maya Nut forests. Workshops include information on nutrition, recipes, sustainable harvesting, processing and propagation. By increasing awareness of the value of this multi-­-purpose tree to rural families, the Institute is able to encourage conservation and reforestation.

During the training session, the nutritional components and benefits of the Maya Nut are explained, along with the different ways of processing the Nut. Finally different recipes are tested to ensure adoption of the Nut by the women.

Children

In 2009 MNI started a new program, Healthy Kids, Healthy Forests, a Maya Nut school lunch program with the goal of educating rural children about the food and ecosystem benefits of the Maya Nut and improving children’s health and nutrition. Presently more than 15,000 children receive Maya Nut school lunches at least twice/week in Nicaragua, Guatemala, El Salvador and Mexico. This program serves a dual purpose; i) An informed youth is an important starting point to ensure long-­-term sustainability of new practices and ii). School lunch programs represent one of the largest and most consistent markets in Central America, and the market for Maya Nut products is the driver of many program impacts, particularly reduction of poverty and reforestation.

Government

The Maya Nut has great potential to improve the resilience of the Caribbean islands’ agro-­-ecosystems. Jamaica has large and healthy population of Maya Nuts and the Jamaican Department of Forestry learned about the uses and potential of the Maya Nut from the MNI in 2009. Similarly, in 2007, the MNI was able to train staff from the Ministry of Agriculture in Jamaica, several NGOs and individuals on ways to expand their Maya Nut resources and capitalize on them.

ADAPTATION STRATEGY N°2: INCREASE ECOSYSTEM RESILIENCE TO IMPROVE FOOD SECURITY FOR CHILDREN AND LIVELIHOOD OPPORTUNITIES FOR WOMEN

I. Maya Nut harvesting and ecosystem resilience

The deep and extensive root system of the Maya Nut tree can access bedrock water, enabling the trees to remain green and leafy, even during the long dry season when other species lose their leaves. One study of Brosimum alicastrum focused on its resistance to droughts in the Yucatan Peninsula. One of the conclusions of the research was that “[t]he ability to take up water stored in the upper few meters of the limestone bedrock during the pronounced dry season is likely the key feature allowing Brosimum alicastrum to thrive under non-­- irrigated conditions in the shallow, rocky soils of northern Yucatan”. Further, the report stated that “[the] results suggest that locally adapted native tree species capable of efficiently extracting water from bedrock strata may be the only perennial crops suitable for rainfed cultivation in shallow rocky soils under seasonally dry tropical climates” (Querejeta et al., 2006).

People have begun to harvest Maya Nut trees in those areas where wild trees have been felled or eradicated. The Maya Nut tree begins producing nuts as early as 4 to 5 years after planting and reaches peak production at around 50 to 70 years (Vohman, 2010). Trees are productive for more than 100 years. One adult Maya Nut tree can produce up to 300 kg of nutritious seeds per year. A family with just 10 mature trees can improve its food supply, health and income.

Maya Nut Institute, with funding from Darwin Initiative, DEFRA, UK, has begun developing participatory sustainable harvest guidelines for the Maya Nut in order to ensure resource sustainability and to minimize impacts of harvesting on regeneration and biodiversity. These guidelines will be designed and implemented by the harvesters themselves, based on data they collect over the next 3 years. This will improve harvesters’ understanding and interest of sustainable management protocols for Maya Nut and will permit them to better manage their forests for food, income, biodiversity and ecosystem services. The participatory nature of these management plans will improve economic viability for women’s Maya Nut businesses because they won’t be required to hire outside consultants to design the plans or collect the data.

Maya Nut-­-based agroforestry has other climate change benefits when compared to conventional annual cropping systems used in Central America and Mexico. Unlike conventional annual cropping systems which require agrochemicals to ensure good harvests, Maya Nut requires no agrochemical inputs. Furthermore, over time, leaf litter from Maya Nut trees improves soil fertility. Maya Nut forests produce more calories per unit area than annual crops (Vohman, 2011).

II. Food security and livelihood benefits

Uses and benefits of the Maya Nut tree

Although a topic of controversy between historians and archaeologists, it is widely believed that the seeds of the Maya Nut were once a staple food of the Pre-­-Columbian Mayan people. Its leaves, pulp and seeds continue to be central to the diet of many forest birds and animals (The New Agriculturalist, 2008). Maya Nut Maya Nut is extremely versatile and can be eaten fresh (boiled fresh seeds) or dried, roasted and ground.

The fresh Maya Nut seeds can be boiled and ground into dough similar to maize, which is then often used for soups, tamales, tortillas, burgers and puree. Dry seeds can be roasted and ground for use in drinks, deserts, stews and baked goods. Boiled, the Nut tastes like mashed potato; roasted, it tastes like chocolate or coffee.

Maya Nut is rich in fibre, calcium, potassium, folate, iron, zinc, protein and B-­-vitamins. It is nutritionally comparable to amaranth, quinoa and soy (see table of composition). It has potential to resolve problems of food insecurity and malnutrition. It is high in antioxidants and has a low glycemic index.

Finally, the Maya Nut tree offers assets other than food. Wood is used for construction, furniture or fuel. Latex is said to have therapeutic effects when mixed with water (The New Agriculturalist, 2008) and can be used for chewing gum. The latex and the leaves of the Central American variety can be drunk as an infusion to treat asthma, bronchitis and coughs5. In short, every single part of the tree can be used and consumed either by animals or human beings.

Combining small businesses and good nutrition

Maya Nut Institute focuses on women’s empowerment. More than 22 small businesses have been developed following trainings for women conducted by the Institute. The ‘Healthy Kids, Healthy Forests’ programme in Guatemala, El Salvador, Mexico and Nicaragua is a good example of how rural women can use Maya Nut to solve recurrent problems. ‘Healthy Kids, Healthy Forests’ is a Maya Nut-­-based school lunch program, which was developed with one of the Maya Nut producer groups in Guatemala, Alimentos Nutri-­-Naturales with multiple goals of creating a local market, improving business viability, reducing chronic malnutrition and motivating reforestation with Maya Nut in rural communities. The program has been wildly successful, yet extremely difficult to fund, though it only costs between $20-­-$25/child/year. As a result of ‘Healthy Kids, Healthy Forests’, the Guatemalan Ministry of environment has financed planting 1,500,000 Maya Nut trees and the Ministry of Education now requires Maya Nut lunches to be served at least twice per week during the school year. These seedlings will one day provide over 4 million kilos of food per year for the communities, representing a long term solution to problems of malnutrition and food insecurity in the region, in addition to the environmental services they provide.

RESULTS AND LESSONS LEARNED

The results of the Maya Nut Institute work since 2001 include:

15,000 rural women from 900 communities have received training about Maya Nut.

Of the graduates, 317 have formed 22 microenterprises to produce and sell Maya Nut products (ice cream, cookies, bread, drinks, cake and cereal). Some 3,000 community members now earn an income from harvesting Maya Nut from wild forests. 1,800,000 new Maya Nut trees were planted by the communities and other stakeholders where the Institute has been working to generate interest in the Maya Nut. This project has contributed towards livelihood improvements in different sectors. Food security has increased as women producing Maya Nut products for family consumption have another option to feed their families.

67% of women trained by the Maya Nut Institute have never participated in any sort of training programme before. The focus on women for Maya Nut production and marketing improves the women producers’ status in the family and sets an important example for children. Changes in self-­-esteem and independence are impressive. Women are learning to open bank accounts, write cheques and use ATM machines. Some are learning to use the internet while others are going back to school to learn to read and write. Several of the producers’ groups are writing proposals to raise funds to grow their businesses and incorporate other projects into their community work including fuel-­-saving stoves, solar cookers, chicken farming and vegetable gardening. Moreover, the Institute observes that as women’s self-­-esteem and confidence improves, they are more likely to adopt public health and other interventions which impact their children’s health and education.

Monitoring and evaluation

Maya Nut Institute monitors changes in awareness of the value of the Maya Nut tree before and after community workshops. Number of trees planted and women’s income are also monitored. Changes in nutritional status and anthropomorphic indicators are also monitored.

CRITICAL SUCCESS AND RISK FACTORS

The success of the Maya Nut programme lies in its focus on women. Women are more concerned with family food security and are much better at managing local sales (which increases local consumption of Maya Nut) while men tend to focus on cash generation by selling Maya Nut with an eye on export.

Risks associated with the programme stem primarily from the Maya Nut's threatened status and from issues related to land tenure, which could affect communities’ access to Maya Nut. Logging of the Maya Nut is one of the biggest threats and, disappointingly, the Maya Nut tree remains on the Rainforest Alliance and Forest Stewardship Council lists of permitted timber species, even though it is a keystone species for biodiversity.

Maya Nut trees can be difficult to re-­-establish on sites where they have been eradicated. This is due primarily to sensitivity to drought and predation by rats, cows, pigs, iguanas, deer, voles, horses and other animals in its first year of establishment. Additionally, because they need to develop a deep taproot to access bedrock water, trees produced in bags in nurseries sometimes have difficulty becoming established because taproot development is compromised by nursery bags and transplanting. Probably the biggest challenge to reforestation is the high palatability of Brosimum alicastrum leaves to livestock. Fencing is required to prevent cattle, goats, mules, sheep and other grazers from killing the young seedlings. Fencing is expensive and therefore not easy for most rural families to obtain.

CONCLUSION

More than 300 women who have received training from the Maya Nut Institute have started Maya Nut-­-based businesses, building on what they have learned. Some of these businesses are producing Maya Nut goods for local and regional sale. Alimentos Nutri-­-Naturales in Guatemala and Flor de Ojoche, Nicaragua are exporting to the US, Japan, El Salvador, and Haiti.

The success of the ‘Healthy Kids, Healthy Forest’ programme also motivated the Ministry of Education to mandate serving Maya Nut at least twice per week in schools and to ban all cookies from schools with the sole exception of Maya Nut cookies!

The Maya Nut Institute, under the leadership of Erika Vohman, Founder and Executive Director, is currently in the process of expanding the Maya Nut programme to Cuba, Colombia, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador and Brazil, where Maya Nut is native but underutilized as a food and source of income. The Maya Nut range has been severely reduced by logging, overgrazing and conversion of forest to sugar and annual crops. It is hoped that preliminary sensitization programmes aimed at the Ministries of Agriculture and the Environment will help them expand and capitalize on their Maya Nut resources.

In Haiti and the Dominican Republic, the Maya Nut is presumed to be extinct but plans are underway by the Maya Nut Institute in partnership with several local NGOs and community groups to restore it to the island. Because of the plant’s complex reproductive system, seed for reforestation in Haiti has been sourced from the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico, where the local Maya Nut population is dioecious, thereby ensuring a mix of male and female trees for seed production. Erika Vohman of the Maya Nut Institute believes that Maya Nut reforestation on upland riparian sites can and will play a critical role in reducing salinization of the water table near coasts by increasing freshwater flows from bedrock and aquifers. This scenario may hold promise to manage yet another negative impact of climate change: rising sea levels.6

Notes

1 In Mexico alone this plant is known by 46 different names.

2The Maya Nut Institute (formerly the Equilibrium Fund) is an international NGO working to rescue lost indigenous knowledge about the Maya Nut in Central America and Mexico to help adapt to future climate change impacts, conserve rainforests, reduce poverty and improve food security. The organization won the Darwin Initiative Award in 2010, the St. Andrews Prize for the Environment in 2006 and the NGO-­-Mobile award in Mexico in 2007. Alimentos Nutri-­-Naturales, S.A., the Guatemalan Maya Nut producers won The Equator Prize in 2007. ‘Healthy Kids, Healthy Forests’ received a grant from the Development Marketplace 2009, financed by the Global Environment Facility, the Danish Government and the World Bank.

3 This situation is in part due to low presence of tryptophan (an essential amino acid in the human diet) in maize and beans, while Brosilum alicastrum is rich in tryptophan.

4 For a complete list of partners, please visit The Maya Institute.

5 For more information see Bioplanet

6This is an assumption MNI is making based on observations and a review of literature. The Maya Nut Institute will implement a Maya Nut reforestation project in association with a mangrove reforestation project in northern Haiti in 2011 which it is hoped will generate a number of lessons about the effect of Maya Nut forests on island and coastal hydrology.

References

Fitzpatrick, C. (2008) “Alicastrum”, UBC Botanical Garden Available at: http://www.ubcbotanicalgarden.org/potd/2008/03/brosimum_alicastrum.php

Guatemala, Primero Communicación Nacional ante la Convención Marco de las Naciones Unidas sobre el Cambio Climático (2001). Available at: http://unfccc.int/resource/docs/natc/guanc1.pdf

Magrin, G., C. Gay García, D. Cruz Choque, J.C. Giménez, A.R. Moreno, G.J. Nagy, C. Nobre and A. Villamizar (2007) Latin America. Climate Change 2007: Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability. Contribution of Working Group II to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, M.L. Parry, O.F. Canziani, J.P. Palutikof, P.J. van der Linden and C.E. Hanson, Eds., Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK. Available at: http://www.ipcc.ch/pdf/assessment-report/ar4/wg2/ar4-wg2-chapter13.pdf

México, Cuarta Comunicación Nacional ante la Convención Marco de las Naciones Unidas sobre el Cambio Climático (2010). Available at http://unfccc.int/resource/docs/natc/mexnc4s.pdf

Pérez, C., Locatelli, B., Vignola, R. and Imbach, P. (2007) Integrar los bosques tropicales en las políticas de adaptación al cambio climático «Cambio Climático, ecosistemas y gente, (Monthly Priodical) n° 165, 2007. All the authors are part of the Grupo Cambio Global del Centro Agronómico Tropical de Investigación y Enseñanza (Catie). This institution collaborates on the Tropical Forests and Adaptation to Climate Change (TroFCCA) project with the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), among others.

Querejeta, J., Estrada-­-Medina, H., Allen, M., Jimenez-­-Osornio, J., Ruenes, R. (2006) Utilization of bedrock water by Brosimum alicastrum trees growing on shallow soil atop limestone in a dry tropical climate, Plant Soil (2006) 287:187–197, Springer Science+Business Media B.V.

Ramón seed (Brosimum alicastrum sw.) and ramón seed-­-derived ingredients for use in traditional foods Generally recognized as safe (gras) self-­-affirmation report (following US Food and Drug Administration rule).

The New Agriculturalist (2008) “Maya Nut: a forgotten treasure”. Available at: http://www.new-ag.info/focus/focusItem.php?a=424

EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the third in the series of ELAN case studies on ecosystem-based adaptation to climate change. ELAN case studies on adaptation to climate change in Burkina Fasso and Madagascar were published in the October and November issues, respectively. Another ELAN case study will be published in the January issue. Links to a recent series of ELAN case studies can be found here. To visit the ELAN's web site, click here.


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