Increasing environmental and social resilience based on forest cover and water

Published: 30 April 2019
Last edited: 30 April 2019

After analysing vulnerabilities and adaptation establishing priorities, the ejido La Azteca and ejido Alpujarras sought to protect the ecosystem services provided by their forests (water capture, biodiversity, soil and fertility structure) aiming to benefit their livelohoods and resilience to climate change.


The following EbA measures and actions were implemented to face heavy rains, storms, erosion and to improve ecosystem resilience, soil water retention and water downstream. 


1. Protection and restoration of the cloud forest in the Tacaná Volcano Reserve. Specific actions were: 

  • natural regeneration of forest degraded areas
  • reforestation with native species

  • wildfire preventative measures such as firebreaks

  • soil conservation practices
  • surveillance to prevent illegal logging, illegal hunting and extraction of flora and fauna, forest fires, and to detect outbreaks of pests

2. Optimization of agroforestry systems,: 

  • Soil conservation practices (e.g. live fences, terraces and breakwater small natural constructions). Live fences use plant species to divide plots, provide shade and protect againts erosion.
  • introducing forest and fruit species into coffee plantations (shade-grown).

Measures helped to improve and maintain the resilience and integrity of the natural forest.


Collection of baseline and monitoring data and knowledge
Communication, outreach and awareness building
Education, training and other capacity development activities
Evaluation, effectiveness measures and learning
Sustainable livelihoods
Scale of implementation
Phase of solution
Documentation and dissemination of results

Enabling factors

  • Ejido assemblies, which are important (decision-making) entities of the communities of Chiapas, are key for the implementation, and long-term monitoring and evaluation of EbA measures for climate change adaptation. The Ejido is a land tenure structure in Chiapas, Mexico.
  • The existance of the Payment for Environmental Services scheme which has been operating in Chiapas since 2012, was key to support actions and enable funds for the sustainable management of mountain mesophilic forest and agroforestry systems (~4000 ha).

Lessons learned

The main goal of the solution was to improve the resilience of communities and ecosystems towards climate-related impacts. This was achieved by implementing EbA measures in combination with synergizing measures of community-based adaptation, certain CO2 mitigation strategies (such as Payment of Ecosystem Services for the protection of the forest), and the integrated water management of the Cahoacán river basin (were communities are located).


One important lesson is that EbA measures cannot be isolated, but need to be taken at a basin or microbasin scale to impact on water related ecosystem services. 

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