Mauricio Lopez Barreto

Contact Details

Calle 60 Número 491-A Colonia Centro. Mérida, Yucatán. Mexico CP: 97000


PhD Project Title

Local Human Development Agencies and the Biocultural Heritage in Yucatan: a Political Ecology Analysis

Abstract of PhD Thesis

Centuries of interconnectedness with a territory has rooted rural communities around the world, making them dependent of the sustainable management of their local environments. This relationship is composed by elements comprised in the communities' biocultural heritage - its traditional knowledge, practices and cosmovision - which provide an holistic alternative to cope with situations of crisis like climate change or econommic precarity. On the other hand, socio-productive development programs are often implemented as public policy in order to assist rural communities' weather disruptions in their lifestyles, mainly due to structural reforms. Although these programs are often framed within a sustainable development framework, they rarely embrace the communities' biocultural heritage. As a result, these programs fail to meet their development goals of enhancing the communities' quality of life. In this context, the research project seeks to recognize and analyze the different actors involved in the socio-productive development programs, their interests and their political conflicts with regards to their biocultural heritage, and devise strategies of empowerment for weaker political groups. The proposed methodology to achieve this objective is through a political discourse analysis and about 10 in-depth interviews (interpreted through the method of Grounded Theory) to grasp the social practices of the local actors.

Area of Interest

Biocultural Heritage, Political Ecology, Neotropical Indigenous Communities and Sustainable Development, Social Movements

Educational Background


PhD Candidate in Social Sciences, Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán


Master in International Ecology, El Colegio de la Frontera Sur (ECOSUR), Mexico and Université de Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada


Bachelor in Social Anthropology, University of Maryland, USA

Professional Experience


Intern, Steadfast Tourism & Conservation Association (STACA), Steadfast, Belize


Executive Assistant and Project Manager, CASA de Maryland, MD, USA - a non-profit organization that provides social services to low-income immigrants


Resident Naturalist - volunteer, Explorer's Inn Jungle Lodge, Puerto Maldonado, Peru

Completion of academic studies and work in a variety of industries on part-time & casual basis



CONACyT (Mexico) scholarship for PhD degree, UADY


CONACyT (Mexico) scholarship for Master's degree, ECOSUR & UdeS (Quebec)


University of Maryland (USA) - Latino Academic Award Scholarship


  • 2015: Resistencias agroecológicas en Yucatán, Mexico - Article published in Ecología Política journal, no. 49. Barcelona, pages 116-118.
  • 2014: Thesis as partial requisite to obtain Master's degree in International Ecology: Use of non-timber resources as a sustainable model in indigenous communities: a comparative analysis between the Infierno Community in Madre de Dios, Peru and Naranjal Ponientre Community in Quintana Roo, Mexico. Ecosur/UdeS. 142 pp. (Grade: 9.7/10)
  • 2006: Native Culture and Biodiversity: a complete sanctuary to conserve in Tambopata, Perú - Article in Connexio - (Intergration and Development Magazine for youth, published by the Inter-American Development Bank). Washington DC. 4th edition, p.106-109.