Document Type

Thesis

Degree

Master of Science (MS)

Department

Environmental Studies

First Advisor's Name

David Bray

First Advisor's Title

Committee Chair

Second Advisor's Title

Krish Jayachandran

Third Advisor's Title

Elvira Duran

Date of Defense

7-12-2012

Abstract

The purpose of this thesis was to investigate the local knowledge and perception regarding the invasion of bracken fern in two indigenous communities located in the Chinantla region, southern Mexico. Bracken fern, Pteridium aquilinum, has invaded the hillsides that surround the two villages of the study site. The use of structured and informal interviews found that although bracken fern is not perceived as a major problem in the study site, it is of concern to the farmers living there, since the majority of the soils in the invaded lands are not of sufficient quality to cultivate corn. However, yucca and pineapple crops can be grown in the invaded areas, and the cultivation of these control bracken’s invasion. Farmers know that restoration of these areas is possible, but they perceive that it is a time consuming and labor demanding process. Suggested management of invaded areas includes firewood/timber extraction, agroforestry and refuge sites for wildlife, especially for two mammals’ species currently under threatened status by the IUCN.

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