The agroforestry system improved fallow which is applied by the Scolelte Program, aims to manage secondary vegetation with the production of wood, firewood or other products that may derive from the plantation of timber trees with commercial value. These plots are also enriched by the presence of a large number of other trees, medicinal plants, flowers and fruit trees.
The improved fallow´s purpose is to improve the livelihoods of the participants by offering economic, environmental and social benefits. To achieve this, the system must be combined with a great diversity of slow and fast-growing native species, with high-value timber species, such as cedar (Cedrela odorata) Rosy Trumpet Tree (Tabebuia rosea) and mahogany (Swietenia macrophylla), in such a way that they can use all local resources.
At a plot level, the Scolel'te Program through this system promotes the growth of a great diversity of species that contribute to increase the biodiversity of the work area. For example, in plots of the community of El Divisadero (Berriozabal, Chiapas) planted in 2017, of the 5 tree species planted with the Program, the system itself contributed to have presence of more than 6 additional tree species, adding a total of 11 different tree species, corresponding to a climate of a tropical forest.
The improvement of the fallows through timber trees contributes to increase in the presence of other animal species, by having a better habitat and food, with birds being the first to have a presence. A improved fallow offers, seeds, flowers and other resources that attract insects, reptiles, birds and mammals, which end up enriching the plot even more. This triggers a series of ecological processes that balance the system and contribute to carbon sequestration.
This system helps to improve the presence of insects such as butterflies, bees, beetles, reptiles such as lizards (Sceloporus, Anolis, Basiliscos, Ameivas, etc.) and small snakes. Birds like flycatchers (Tyrannidae), seed birds (Emberízidos, Thraúpidos), pigeons (Columbiformes), as well as mammals with different species of squirrels, rabbits, rodents, foxes that interact with the vegetation, feeding on each other, and generating the balance of the new ecosystem.