Current situation

Chiapas is the 8th largest state in Mexico, with a surface area of 73,282 km², which represents 3.8% of the total surface area of Mexico. Chiapas contains rich biodiversity in its cloud forests, temperate forests, natural and cultivated pasture, humid and sub-humid rain forests. These different types of forest cover account for 42% of the total area of the state. There are 47 Natural Protected Areas, which cover roughly 20% of the state.

Chiapas is one of the five lowest performing states in Mexico in terms of educational performance, health and economic development. But it is also second in terms of biodiversity and number of endemic species and indigenous villages. It is rich in water and mineral resources, and a major provider of ecosystem services. However, native ecosystems are being degraded rapidly and there is high pressure being put on natural resources from drivers such as agricultural expansion, at both large and small scales. Currently, 60% of total greenhouse gas emissions of the state come from agriculture, forestry and land use (AFOLU).

Chiapas is an early-action target region; the state has a deforestation rate of 333 km² per year. According to official figures, Chiapas' emissions from the AFOLU sector are 16.1 MtCO2e per year, representing 57% of total state emissions. Subsidies to increase field productivity outpace incentives to promote conservation and sustainable production by 70%.

As Mexico moves to a low-carbon economy, the General Climate Change Law establishes a commitment to reduce emissions by 30% by 2020 from the reference levels in 2000.


Our strategy

Participants of the Forestry Congress of Chiapas.

Participants of the Forestry Congress of Chiapas.

One of the main challenges in the state is to align public policies, incentive programs and in general the territorial performance at a sub-national level, through the coordinated application of low-emission rural development strategies across sectors. 

To achieve this objective, STA partner Pronatura Sur's LED-R strategy centers around reaching collaborative agreements with institutions, organizations of local producers and agroindustrial companies; as well as developing participatory action plans and mechanisms to monitor the territorial performance with remote sensing systems and ground verification with local stakeholders. Pronatura seeks to align Territorial Performance with public policy strategies to ensure their continuity and long-term sustainability, in order to reach an 80% reduction in tropical deforestation in Chiapas, representing 22 MtCO2e of avoided emissions.

Pronatura's strategy is also integrated with:

  • The State Program of Action on Climate Change that is being updated with the National Strategy for Climate Change and the Special Climate Change Program;
  • The REDD+ vision for the state, which identifies various drivers of deforestation in rural areas, ranging from local needs for fire wood and timber for construction to incentive programs for agricultural productivity and lack of coordination among government programs;
  • The State Law for Mitigation and Adaptation to Climate Change;
  • The investment plans for the Forest Carbon Partnership Fund (FCPF) Reductions Initiative Project (ER-PIN/IRE)

What We've Achieved

  • Chiapas government's committed to reducing deforestation 80% by 2020, if financial conditions continue. The commitment ensures that a substantial share of any additional pay-for-performance benefits that flow to the jurisdiction will be dedicated to forest dependent communities, smallholders, and indigenous peoples (Declaration of Rio Branco and Under 2 MOU).
  • Alliance of 7 state Ministries of Environment created to develop LED-R strategies.
  • Inter-sectoral working groups created for the development of sectoral plans: forestry, low-emission livestock and palm oil. 
  • Working on landscape plans and integrated watershed management for mountain (Sierra Madre of Chiapas) and coastal ecosystems (mangrove forests and their environmental services), with restoration and conservation actions.

Coordinating partners

STA partner: Pronatura Sur

STA partner: Pronatura Sur

Secretaria de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales

Secretaria de Medio Ambiente y Recursos Naturales

Comisión Nacional Forestal

Comisión Nacional Forestal

El Colegio de la Frontera Sur

El Colegio de la Frontera Sur

Secretaría de Medio Ambiente e Historia Natural

Secretaría de Medio Ambiente e Historia Natural

Comisión Nacional de Áreas Naturales Protegidas

Comisión Nacional de Áreas Naturales Protegidas

Contact: José Montero, josemontero (at) pronatura-sur.org (dot) org

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