Color green for dollars: constraints and limitations for establising Chamaedorea palm firms in Veracruz, Mexico

N. Musalem Castillejos

Research output: Thesisinternal PhD, WU

Abstract

Interest in Non-Timber Forest Products (NTFPs) has grown with increasing awareness of tropical forest deforestation and amplified recognition for the need to add value to forest resources. However, NTFPs continue to be regarded by many as marginal goods incapable of competing with timber as a viable economic alternative use of tropical and subtropical forests. In Mexico, several NTFPs are exploited in various ecosystems helping conserve forested areas, providing “the poor” access to cash in moments of uncertainty and relieving pressure on timber resources. Nonetheless, the benefit for conservation is highly debated and remains undecided as yet. NTFP proponents suggest that the development of commercial enterprises can be of significant benefit for forest users by providing a direct link between producers and markets, organizing markets as well as the development of infrastructure. This thesis explores actors’ practices to understand the different forms of organization, processes of interaction and negotiation between actors involved in the use and commercialization of NTFPs. The analysis of these practices seen through observation and accounts of the actors’ life-histories, everyday practices, the arrangement of individual actions within different production and commercial activities, serve to elucidate the multiple facets/aspects of different actors in the market for NTFPs in diverse commercial, social, economic and political arenas. By doing so, this thesis captures the experiences of actors in the Chamaedorea market; an important NTFP product marketed worldwide. These experiences are fundamental in answering the main research question: How are Chamaedorea palm commercial initiatives built in Veracruz, Mexico, and what are the main limitations for their consolidation and access to the markets? Focusing primarily on the analysis of key actors in the Mexican market, from production up until the export market, this thesis offers a detailed account of how diverse efforts to access markets are constructed and argues that it is important to focus on organizing practices and problem-solving capabilities of actors, needed to circumvent bottle-necks in the design and development of NTFP firms, a point often ignored or taken for granted in the literature on NTFPs. Taking on an actor-oriented perspective, detailed ethnographies and actor’s life-stories introduce actors’ struggles and various arrangements/strategies in establishing firms, yielding an interesting insight that would be unnoticeable if these processes developed smoothly. The contribution of this thesis to the debate on how NTFPs firms are constructed and maintained, proposes a reconsideration of NTFPs policy initiatives in developing markets and enhancing benefits to forest users, a major nuisance of current NTFPs policies worldwide.
Original languageEnglish
QualificationDoctor of Philosophy
Awarding Institution
  • Wageningen University
Supervisors/Advisors
  • Visser, Leontine, Promotor
  • Verschoor, Gerard, Co-promotor
Award date30 Sep 2014
Place of PublicationWageningen
Publisher
Print ISBNs9789462570207
Publication statusPublished - 2014

Keywords

  • non-wood forest products
  • marketing
  • commercialization
  • firms
  • chamaedorea
  • sustainability
  • rural development
  • forest policy
  • mexico

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Color green for dollars: constraints and limitations for establising Chamaedorea palm firms in Veracruz, Mexico'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this