Public demands, environmental perceptions, and natural resource management in Mexico's tropical lowlands.


Ana Lid Del Angel-Pérez* and José Alfredo Villagómez-Cortés

The study was carried out to elicit the will of inhabitants of grazing areas in coastal lowlands of East Mexico regarding their values and preferences for actions of conservation or economic development. A comprehensive structured questionnaire was developed to collect data from 199 rural and urban inhabitants of lowlands in central Veracruz, Mexico. Several environmental policy scenarios were proposed and respondents ranked their preferences. Mean age was 41.6 ± 17.0 years- old. Mean annual income was USD$ 4,530.2 ± 4.953. Rural residents were indifferent to urban landscapes, but urban residents considered the quality of life in urban environments as good. Both groups graded as good rural landscapes, quality of natural resources, and abundance of natural resources. Policies of previous governments were graded as bad, but recent government efforts received a better grade. People think (52%) that cattlemen ignore environmental problems and often act by economic instead of ecologic criteria. Urban population (65%) favored potential approval of legislation to regulate the use of natural resources in grazing areas, but rural residents (15%) did not. Proposed mechanisms to enforce environmental laws were to subsidize livestock producers (82%), rangeland appropriation of areas of ecological value (33%), environmental education (25%), and severe fines to offenders (14%).

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