Why research the tropics?

The geographical area of the Mexican tropic has the most diverse ecosystems on Earth (most species in a given area), and also the most fragile. It is also the area with the great cultural richness, for which reason it has been classified as one of the regions with the greatest biocultural diversity. Among other cultural groups, the Mexican tropic has been inhabited by Mayans, Totonacs, Téennek, Chontales, Nahuas and Chinantecos, peoples who throughout history have generated vast knowledge about their environment, in continuous experimentation and adaptation. It has even been identified that, in some regions, high biodiversity has been the product of continuous management that promotes and maintains it.

 

The tropics are vital for carbon capture, water production and climate regulation; they are areas of great richness in terms of biodiversity, they provide a wide diversity of resources of great economic, cultural and symbolic value for the populations that inhabit these territories and also for the urban populations. They are the spaces of origin and diversification of key species such as vanilla, chili peppers or cocoa and are natural and social spaces in which diversified management systems have been developed, such as coffee plantations, milpaor land plots. In contrast to its multiple importance, it is estimated that tropical ecosystems have the highest rates of deterioration in the country, with effects that negatively impact the environment and drastically affect the health and well-being of the rural communities that inhabit them.

 

Historically, the resources of the tropics have been economically valuable for the life and development of urban populations in Mexico and outside the country. Water, wood, minerals, germplasm, are under multiple pressures. The tropics are the current scenarios of large scale and serious socio-environmental conflicts.

 

In CITRO we recognize that the problems of the Mexican tropics are integral and have an impact on all social and environmental aspects of the country; from the political, economic and cultural sphere, as well as in the natural environment. In order to analyze, understand and propose alternatives it is necessary to generate options that consider changes in all these levels and from collaborations that cover diverse knowledge, disciplines and methodologies. For this reason, for CITRO, the search for cooperation between various social groups and epistemological fields becomes essential and is encouraged in various ways.