Landscape Spotlight: Sierra de Tapalpa, Jalisco Mexico

This impact story was originally posted by Landscale here.

Spanning nearly 2,000 square kilometres in the state of Jalisco in western Mexico, Sierra de Tapalpa is one of the LandScale pilot landscapes. From forested mountains nearly 4,000 meters high to arid scrubland and tropical forests at lower elevations, the landscape has a wide diversity of ecosystems rich in biodiversity.

These stunning vistas make it a popular tourist destination for residents of Guadalajara eager to escape the city. And with crops ranging from timber, agave and corn to avocados and berries, Sierra de Tapalpa is also one of the most agriculturally productive landscapes in the region. However, land-use changes resulting from tourism and unsustainable agricultural practices threaten the landscape’s fragile ecosystems, with implications for both biodiversity and human wellbeing.

Since 2019 Rainforest Alliance has been working alongside stakeholders from the local government and community to improve agricultural practices and human wellbeing through the promotion of sustainable practices and livelihood creation. They have also been working to reduce land degradation and conversion through effective land-use regulations and the promotion of effective governance and natural resource management.

A baseline assessment of the landscape was completed in 2020 and in January this year, the Local Committee of Sierra de Tapalpa met for its first ordinary session of 2023.

The event was attended by more than 80 people, including the Secretary of Environment of Jalisco, Municipal Presidents of Tapalpa and Atemajac de Brizuela, as well as representatives of over four local communities, social leaders and academics from the State of Jalisco. A new board was elected at the session which includes representatives from intermunicipal boards, academia and the social and agro-industrial sectors. The creation of this board will provide formal representation of the landscape initiative in government and is a stepping-stone towards embedding it in policy development and decision-making.

Read more about Sierra de Tapalpa, and other LandScale assessments in the Explore Landscapes page on our website.