The community of Santa María Tiltepec is located in the northeast portion of one of the mountain ranges of the physiographic province of the Mixteca Alta known as Cerro Negro or Sierra de Tidaa from which the community takes its name (Tilitl =Black), this mountainous massif is the best preserved of the region, ranging in altitude from the 1700 and 2600 m, although the highest summits exceeding the 3000 masl. Pine and oak forests, where colonies of orchids, bromeliads and crassulaceae are common, in addition to areas of xerophilous scrub, dominate the landscape.
The area has impressive endemic flora and fauna in different categories of protection according to national or international laws. Some of the most representative are the, trogon (Trogon mexicanus) and several migratory birds species that find refuge and food only in this part of the country. It is possible to observe traces of Puma concolor (cougar), margay (Leopardus wiedii) among other mammals that abound in the local forests. Another attraction of the fieldtrip through the community is the visit to the Canyon of Caguandoran for the admiration of the landscape toward the Nochixtlán Valley.
The church of Santa María Tiltepec was built in the 16th century; it emphasizes by his strange unique architectural design in the region and in Mexico, both in its exterior as in its interior. The ex-convent of Santo Domingo Yanhuitlán, completed in the 16th century, part of the Dominican Route, Gothic and Plateresque, was built on a platform. It has two floors: the first account with doorman, cloister, chapter house, dungeon, and refectory; outside, the garden and the hostelry; on the upper floor there appreciate the cells, terraces, latrines, library, and access to the choir of the church. It was built with stone extracted from the region, with Dominican symbols such as the flower of liz and dogs distributed in facades, arches and vaults of the ex-convent. The Museum was recently created with the objective of generating spaces for cultural dissemination in the Mixteca region, in particular the area of Yanhuitlán, and its surroundings.
The Crassulaceae are plants of remarkable beauty. In the state of Oaxaca, it is possible to find a great diversity of these plants, as in San Pedro Nopala, a community of the Upper Basin of the Mixtec. Holm oaks, dry forests and scrublands mainly form local ecosystems. In this town are located 7 of the 14 species of Crassulaceae that at the national level are in a high state of protection by the Mexican government. The survival of these plants of breath-taking beauty and variety of uses such as ornamental, medicinal and fodder, is at risk. The diversity of species of crassulaceae has been undermined by activities that affect the ecosystems where they grow, such as the over exploitation of species of Agave for mezcal production, the use of trees and shrubs for firewood and charcoal, grazing goats and cattle or uncontrolled looting of the species to decorate spaces and events.
The Mixteca has very diverse landscapes, rich in biodiversity, as well as traditions and specific cultural features that give it a different profile to other regions of Oaxaca and the country. The cultural roots of the Mixteca are still reflected in the traditional knowledge that, although diminished, remains in many communities and is used in kitchen, medicine, religious rites and ceremonies, as well as in productive, organizational practices and climate observation. This has helped the communities in the process of adaptation to climate change for many years.
On the other hand, the Mixteca is known for the serious erosion processes, as in the case of Santa María Tiltepec, where there is formation of gullies, two areas for the recovery of areas with gullies using bioengineering systems and reforestation with native plants. On the other hand, this community is an example of a successful experience of livestock management and recovery of forest cover.
Implemented/current solutions or actions taken
In the Mixteca Region, many of the species of the Crassulaceae have been removed illegally from their natural habitat, causing the disappearance of entire populations and the extinction of some species. In the territory of San Pedro Nopala there are species such as Echeveria longisiima in status of threatened and Echeveria setosa var. setosa in danger of extinction. This community has been successful in the reproduction and sale of these plants, generating economic benefits for the community, strengthening their internal governance determining areas where populations of these species can be conserved, positioning itself as a pioneer in Oaxaca in the reproduction of crassulaceae as "land or facilities that handle Wildlife in a confined space outside its natural habitat (PIMVS)", according to the Mexican laws.
The nursery established in the community has the necessary permissions to function as a venue for wildlife management in a confined outside its natural habitat (MX-PIMVS-VIV-CO-381-GTO/13), so that the sale of these plants is also legal. Currently the production includes nine species of Sedum and two Echeverias under greenhouse conditions and nursery with a production of 8000-10,000 plants. The community of San Pedro Nopala performs the sale of plants from the nursery, as well as in fairs, and for delivery to nurseries in other states and with the assistance of UNAM, generating interest among the people to preserve their ecosystems and their biodiversity and for planning the use of the territory to preserve the spaces where the Crassulaceae thrive in a natural way.
From this experience, the comuneros of San Pedro Nopala are making efforts to conserve the ecosystems of holm oak woods and forests where these plants develop. They have modified their productive activities changing the management of their livestock and other productive practices and management of their natural resources, favouring the maintenance of the goods and services provided by ecosystems and its biodiversity.
Number of Participants
6:30-8:00 Arrival to Santa María Tiltepec
8:00-13:00 Walk on an interpretative path
13:00-14:00 Visit to the century XVII temple
15:30 Visit to the Santo Domingo Yanhuitlán ex-Convent
17:30 Return to Santa María Tiltepec. Arrival to the cabins.
7:00 Arrival to Tamazulapan del Progreso
9:00 Arrival to San Pedro Nopala
10:00 Visit to the nursery and greenhouse of Crassulaceae
Talk and discussion about ornamental plants management.
14:00 Arrival to la ciudad de Oaxaca.
Fieldtrip offered by Proyecto Mixteca NGO (www.proyectomixteca.org.mx)