Political Landscapes: Forests, Conservation, and Community in Mexico
Revolution and Regulation, 1910–1928
The Mexican revolution of 1910–1917 erupted, in part, as a response to the dispossession and commodification of the previous thirty years. Little fighting took place in the woodlands, but peasants and took advantage of the unrest to press for the return of their commons and better working conditions. Forests emerged as important sites of social contention after the revolution, as land reform and economic nationalism began to deliver the woods to rural communities. Land reform sparked a strong agrarian movement in Michoacán and a nascent labor movement in Chihuahua, both of which echoed national sentiment that Mexicans should control the nation’s natural resources. Scientists nonetheless worried that peasants (campesinos) and indigenous people lacked the knowledge and maturity to manage the woodlands, and prompted Miguel Angel de Quevedo to help write the 1926 forestry code that regulated logging by requiring management plans and producers’ cooperatives in the land reform sector.