SOCIOECOLOGICAL BENEFITS OF A COMMUNITY-BASED RESTORATION OF TRADITIONAL HOME GARDENS IN GUERRERO, MEXICO
Restoration of traditional agroforestry systems is gaining importance, as they provide viable and long-lasting solutions to the global socioecological crisis, especially in poor rural areas. In this study, we evaluated the motivation and socioecological benefits obtained from a community-based restoration of traditional home gardens (THs); this was carried out by members of the Indigenous Non-Governmental Organization (INGO) Xuajin Me´phaa in the “La Montaña” region of Guerrero State, Mexico. We used 30 semi-structured interviews with farmers and field data collection of 30 THs (species abundance, diameter of woody species, the coverage area of non-woody species and alpha diversity index) and explored their ecological potential for promoting landscape connectivity. The main motivation for THs’ restoration was food security and sovereignty. Most of reported species were used as food (39%), multipurpose issues (27%), spiritual needs (18%), medicine (11%), firewood (4%), and construction (1%). A total of 3,509 individuals belonging to 141 species were recorded, with an average of 23 ± 1 species and 117 ± 16 individuals per TH. The average alpha diversity index was high (H´=2.29 ± 0.11). Most of the total reported species were pollinated and dispersed by animals (91 and 57%, respectively). This paper highlights the various benefits of TH restoration projects in socioecologically fragile communities, especially when implemented through a community-based model.