Pineapple cultivation under tree canopies of ancestral agroforests in Mexico


Authors: Jesús Juan Rosales-Adame and Judith Cevallos-Espinosa

General - 2024

ISSUE No.: 62


Language: English


Mexico’s contemporary cultivation of pineapple, the king of tropical fruits, depends on intensive monoculture which negatively impacts the environment and human health. This represents a regression in history, as pineapple was traditionally cultivated in agroforests, which preserve the structural characteristics and ecological processes and functions of natural ecosystems. Some of these agroforestry systems remain, having been conserved for centuries by Indigenous and mestizo communities, particularly in the states of Jalisco and Nayarit, showcasing the sustainability and resilience of agroforestry.

Unlike modern monoculture, pineapple agroforests incorporate diverse plant species to improve biodiversity and reduce disease, integrating pineapple with various woody species native to the subdeciduous tropical forest. They also provide shade and preserve forest cover, and limit the use of machinery, maximising the use of traditional knowledge and local technologies. The resulting agroecosystems not only sustain pineapple production but also yield additional products such as fruits, coffee, wood and fodder, contributing to food sovereignty and self-sufficiency. Despite the benefits of pineapple agroforests, they remain largely unknown at national and international levels, highlighting a need for greater recognition and support. This requires more data on the costs of establishing pineapple agroforests, as the costs are currently unclear. To encourage policymakers to promote the conservation and maintenance of pineapple agroforests, the article provides insight into their ecological and cultural significance and emphasises the importance of valuing and preserving ancestral agroforestry practices.  

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