Conservation and Managed Habitats



Rosa Canelos in medicinal plant garden, Puyo, Ecuador (Photo: D.Lacaze)Through its Conservation and Managed Habitats program, PPI collaborates with local experts, cooperatives and communities to develop management protocols for plant resources of subsistence or commercial importance. Protocols of this program are designed around local knowledge and ecological sciences and are calibrated to satisfy local livelihoods and conservation needs.

PPI's Conservation and Managed Habitats activities are currently focussed in Mexico with past projects in China, India, Indonesia and Southern Africa.



Farmer in community-owned and managed cloud forest near the city of Xalapa, Veracruz, Mexico (Photo: S. Purata)PPI has a long-term and extensive involvement in many areas of Mexico including the central states of Puebla, Veracruz and Guerrero, as well as in the Selva Maya area of the Yucatán peninsula.  Following up on her decades-long work with artisinal bark paper makers in San Pablito, Puebla, Citlalli López has for a number of years now been working with a number of coffee-growing communities developing novel protocols for sound management and use of Jonote, an underutilized shade tree in shaded coffee plantations highly valued for bark paper manufacture, and with enormous promise in recovery of ecologically degraded lands. Citlalli and her collaborators are also strengthening local capacities for timber management and forest-based livelihoods among farmers in the Sierra de Zongolica Veracruz.  Ecologist Silvia Purata has worked for decades supporting community forestry in many parts of Mexico. More recently she has been working in cloud forests around the city of Xalapa, Veracruz, assisting local communities to identify income generation activities derived from the forest and creating economic alternatives to deforestation.  In southwestern Mexico, in the state of Guerrero, Chuck Peters and his associates have in the past worked with local communities  supporting the work of the Mexican NGO GEA, in order to define and develop standards for the sustainable harvesting of a regionally important nontimber forest product, wild maguey (Agave spp), used in creating fermented beverages such as pulque and mescal. PPI is currently working in the states of Puebla, Veracruz and Guerrero, linking the process of training and capacity-building in indigenous and rural high schools, technical colleges and universities to actual resource management problem-solving in communities and with producer organizations.


Ongoing projects

Building local capacities for monitoring and management of community forests.  Working in partnership with the REDD+ Alliance in Mexico, PPI has recently begun to support capacity-building among farmers and smallholders throughout the country in order to help them manage, use and protect their forests through the use of relevant and accessible forest monitoring and evaluation methods. These tools will also allow communities to actively contribute to the national REDD+ more


Strengthening Training Programs in Indigenous Schools, Colleges and Universities. PPI has been actively working with local counterparts in central Mexico (Guerrero, Puebla, Veracruz), developing training programs, teaching materials and curricula that will help form a new type of indigenous professional, one endowed with a broad and well-integrated set of skills that enables communities with viable institutions of environmental governance to effectively interface with external agents, the State and the more 


Forest Management and Forest-based Livelihoods in Sierra de Zongolica, VeracruzPPI-MIMOSZ collaborators have been working in the region since 2005, supporting forestry-related training programs within the local campus of the Universidad Veracruzana Intercultural and directly assisting smallholders through several local organizations... read more



Supporting Shade-Grown Coffee Agroforestry and Conservation. PPI works along multiple fronts and with multiple social actors in the states of Veracruz (Sierra de Zongolica) and Puebla (Sierra de Puebla) to promote the conservation and management of these anthropogenic landscapes and enhance their social and economic viability in light of ongoing threats following urbanization, out-migration and large-scale land-use more


Production and managment of 'Jonote' (Trema micrantha) for artisanal bark paper manufacture, Puebla. Citlalli López has been working with bark collectors and bark paper manufacturers in Puebla for many years. She and her colleagues are currently working with families and organizations in both paper-manufacturing and bark-collecting villages, in order to realize the full environmental, social and economic potential of jonote... read more


Past projects


Forest Stewardship in the Cloud Forests of Xalapa, Veracruz. The cloud forests around the city of Xalapa, Veracruz, are severely threatened by agricultural development and urbanization. Ongoing deforestation has reduced forests to a few patches, with huge concomitant losses to biodiversity and to the watershed. PPI is seeking to promote forest conservation and prevent land use conversion by increasing the economic, environmental and social incentives provided by standing forests in relation to competing land more

Diversified Forest Management as a Strategy for Conservation in the Selva Maya






Participatory monitoring of 'Maguey Papalote' (Agave cupreata), Guerrero







Past Projects, China:

PPI has been working in China through links with the Kunming Institute of Botany (KIB) since the early 1990's.  Tony Cunnigham worked closely with Chinese colleagues to better understand the importance of wild mushrooms for local livelihoods and their potential for sustainable harvest.  The high national and international demand, high value per unit volume and long shelf life of dry mushrooms compared to perishable crops, all make mushrooms and fungi particularly attractive as a source of income to households in remote areas. Recent government policies aimed at reducing logging and farming in mountainous areas have further increased the importance of mushrooms for local livelihoods.  At the same time, however, deforestation and increased harvest rates are depleting wild stocks of mushrooms.  These factors highlight the need to better understand the ecology and harvesting rates of mushrooms and fungi and translate sustainable harvest guidelines into a form useful to local people and foresters.



Mushrooms in Forests and Woodlands: Resource Management, Values and Local Livelihoods






Wise harvest of wild mushrooms: a practical handbook







Past Projects, India:

In India PPI  worked closely with the Keystone Foundation, based in the Nilgiri Hills, Western Ghats, assisting in the process of training and information exchange.  A number of courses on ecological monitoring were held followed up by detailed studies of the harvest, trade and ecology of two important wild-sourced medicinals, Black Dammar (Canarium strictum) and Queen Sago (Cycas circinalis).

Click here to find out more about the Black Dammar posters

Download the report of the first ecological monitoring course held in Tamil Nadu, South India, here




Past projects, Indonesia:

In Indonesia, PPI  worked with the Indonesian NGO Yayasan Pecinta Budaya Bebali (YPBB), and with the Threads of Life Herlina Wonga and Theresia Ngeni, Indonesia. Photo: A.B. CunninghamFoundation, helping weavers to develop sustainable management  plans for traditional plant dyes, exchange knowledge and experiences and strenghten their social organization and business skills.




Past projects, Southern Africa:

Namibia, one of the driest countries in sub-equatorial Africa, is a regional leader way that indigenous plants have been commercialized for the export market, generating income for at least 20,000-25,000 rural producers.  PPI worked to help develop local capacities for effective, practical management systems for high value plant species in  communal conservancies. Activities included:

  • developing user-friendly materials and event books to assist with training and management of species; and,
  • developing field-based training courses that lead to the development of management plans for plant products crucial to local livelihoods and with the potential to add value, sustainably, on a commercial scale. 

PPI  also collaborated with the Indian NGO Keystone Foundation has produced a case study on the medicinal plant Merwillea plumbea in South Africa.