Land tenure, deforestation, and monocultures: Menaces to food and territorial justice

Abstract: Land tenure, deforestation, and monocultures: Menaces to food and territorial justice

Elena Lazos-Chavero (UNAM / Table Dialogues),

When we eat organic food or when we buy a fair-trade product is that enough for food and territorial justice? Or what’s behind organic food production? And what’s behind a fair-trade product? Who is getting benefits of organic production and fair-trade products? I want to discuss the importance of relating organic and fair-trade products to land tenure, land grabbing, and even deforestation in the global south. The fragility and uncertainty of land tenure in many countries like Mexico have provoked the risks of land grabbing, either for expanding monocultures, accelerating deforestation rates, or for the establishment of protected areas for conservation.

Here I’ll concentrate on the unbalanced power relations between small holders and transnational organic companies or fair trade certifiers, as well as the consequences of their control over food regimes, and therefore over food and territorial justice.

Biography: Elena Lazos Chavero is a professor-researcher at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Mexico since 1992 and a coordinator of leading authors of the Values Assessment of the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). She has been professor at the University of Zürich, Université La Sorbonne and at the University of Montreal. As an interdisciplinary researcher with degrees in biology and social anthropology (PhD in Social Anthropology and Socio-Economics of Development at the EHESS, Paris, France). She has a wide range of research interests that include the long-term evolution of rural commons, history of rural conflicts and rural development, the institutional dynamics of social-ecological systems, socio-environmental vulnerabilities, perceptions of risks of climate change, reforests in landscape regeneration, gender and environmental governance, the contradictions of traditional environmental knowledges, and the challenges of community-based management in order to achieve food sovereignty. She is also interested in the risks of agrodiversity loss, particularly, the loss of different maize populations, and culture and power around the conservation of natural commons.  

She has currently 3 projects where a large group of students participate: a) Can livestock raising be sustainable in the tropical lands?; b) Are edible insects the future of food? The case of grasshoppers in Mexico; c) Loss of agrobiodiversity: food and land injustice in Central and South of Mexico. She has published 8 books and more than 120 articles and chapters. She has supervised more than 60 theses of a wide span of political ecology interests. 

Her publications can be found here:
The Leverhulme Centre for Nature Recovery and Biodiversity Network are interested in promoting a wide variety of views and opinions on nature recovery from researchers and practitioners.

The views, opinions and positions expressed within this lecture are those of the author alone, they do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of the Leverhulme Centre for Nature Recovery/Biodiversity Network, or its researchers.