Effects of land tenure and urbanization on the change of land use of cacao (Theobroma cacao) agroforestry systems in southeast Mexico

  • Samuel Oporto-Peregrino
  • Mircea Gabriel Hidalgo-MihartEmail author
  • Ricardo Alberto Collado-Torres
  • Alejandro Antonio Castro-Luna
  • Lilia María Gama-Campillo
  • Stefan Louis Arriaga-Weiss


Production of cacao and its products such as chocolate generate a global market. Despite demand, production has declined in a region historically important in the domestication of cacao in Mesoamerica. Chontalpa in southeast Mexico is an important area for cacao agroforestry systems, but a number of factors have affected current production, resulting in the elimination of many agroforestry systems. This study analyzes land use changes in the cacao production region of Tabasco State of SE Mexico using Landsat images from 2003 to 2016 to evaluate whether changes in cacao agroforestry systems into other land use forms are related to land tenure and distance to urban centers. Our results determined that land use changes were significantly lower in ejido lands, compared to other types of land tenure. A shorter distance to urban centers was associated with a higher probability of changing from cacao agroforestry systems to other land uses (grasslands, urban constructions). Members of young generations in the Chontalpa tend to move to urban centers that are continually growing at the expense of other land uses. Therefore, cacao agroforestry systems close to urban areas are more likely to change into this type of land use.


Land tenure Deforestation Mesoamerica Cacao agroforestry systems 



Thanks are due to the Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnología (CONACYT) for the scholarship granted to the first author for postgraduate studies in Ecology and Management of Tropical Systems at the DACBiol-UJAT (Grant Number 421424), to the MSc. Hilda M. Díaz-López for her support in spatial data analysis and to the Universidad Juárez Autónoma de Tabasco-DACBiol for logistic support. Chris Heider read the manuscript, and his input was very helpful for style correction


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Samuel Oporto-Peregrino
    • 1
  • Mircea Gabriel Hidalgo-Mihart
    • 1
    Email author
  • Ricardo Alberto Collado-Torres
    • 1
  • Alejandro Antonio Castro-Luna
    • 2
  • Lilia María Gama-Campillo
    • 1
  • Stefan Louis Arriaga-Weiss
    • 1
  1. 1.División Académica de Ciencias BiológicasUniversidad Juárez Autónoma de TabascoVillahermosaMexico
  2. 2.Instituto de Biotecnología y Ecología Aplicada (INBIOTECA)Universidad VeracruzanaVeracruzMexico

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