The State of the Rockies Project summer research team headed south in 2011 with a tall task, to follow the Colorado River from its headwaters in the Rockies, to the Mexican Delta where the River traditionally reached the sea. From Colorado Springs the team crossed Colorado over the Rockies into the Colorado River Basin, then traveled south into Utah and Arizona, continuing all the way into Mexico, tracing the course of the River and investigating the issues in the Basin. From the border they headed back north, stopping at the South Rim of the Grand Canyon and the Navajo Nation, before finally making the long haul back home to Colorado Springs. Covering over 3400 miles, the trip reinforced the gravity of many issues the team had already been researching from afar at Colorado College.
While central Mexico continues to be a cradle of agrobiodiversity, there have been major changes to the agricultural model since the 1960’s, characterized by an overall decrease in crop diversity and a shift from low-input subsistence farming to high-input commercial farming (Sanderson 1986). In light of this trend, this study focuses on agrobiodiversity and the specific practices associated with seed selection, cultivation, and use of diverse crops in central Mexico. Most related efforts have been made at the scale of “farm” or “nation;” the dynamics of agrobiodiversity at the scale of landscape are less well-understood. This study examines crop diversity within a specific community in central Mexico. Both quantitative measures of crop diversity and qualitative ethnographic data are interpreted through the frameworks of ethnobotany, economic botany, agroecology and human ecology. The agro-system of this community appears to be a relatively stable and sustainable form of agricultural syncretism containing high levels of agrobiodiversity. Using this community as a case study, the functional roles and implications of crop diversity on a bioregion are examined. This contextual examination is conducted with an awareness of the biosecurity threats posed by genetic erosion and the potential benefits of in situ conservation.
The implementation of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) on January 1, 1994 signaled the economic integration of Canada, the United States, and Mexico. The economic theory behind international trade suggests the free flow of goods allows each nation to focus on comparative advantages, therefore permitting all parties involved to consume more goods of a better quality and at a lower price. The purpose of this study was to determine how agricultural trade patterns for Canada, the United States, and Mexico changed in terms of composition, value, and volume since the implementation of NAFTA. As several studies included suggest, Canada and the United States exhibit a comparative advantage in the production of eggs, maize, milk, beef, and wheat, and Mexico tends to exhibit a comparative advantage in the production of horticultural products such as asparagus, beans, chilies, cucumbers, eggplants, grapes, onions, pumpkins, strawberries, tomatoes, and watermelons. With this information in mind, this study sought to analyze whether or not NAFTA prompted each nation to specialize in the production of products for which they have a comparative advantage, thus the focus on the changing composition of agricultural trade. Additionally, this study attempted to determine if and when structural breaks in the trade patterns for the selected products happened (both in terms of value and volume). If the structural break happened before the implementation of NAFTA, then it may be suggested that the rising trade levels are simply the continuation of an already existing upward trend that may have started during the 1980’s. If the structural break happened around the time NAFTA was implemented, then there may be some evidence that NAFTA in particular propelled this increase in agricultural trade levels. This study relied on data provided by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAOSTAT). Specifically, this analysis used international trade data, in terms of value and volume, for Canada, the United States, and Mexico for sixteen agricultural products from 1961 to 2011. The methodology consisted of various multiple regression models designed to detect a structural break in value and volume trends over time. The results suggest that most products exhibited a positive value and volume structural break in 1994, when NAFTA was put in place. Various products showed evidence of a different break date, but this break date tended to be in the mid 1980’s. This is not surprising given that Mexico’s economic liberalization began during this decade with its accession into the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) in 1986 and considering the 1988 Free Trade Agreement (FTA) between Canada and the United States.
Since 1992, Dr. Jesús Lau has been Director of the USBI VER Library at The Universidad Veracruzana Veracruz-Boca del Rio campus. He is the President of the Mexican Library Association, 2009 to 2011. Dr. Lau also is a member of the Governing Board and member of the Executive Committee of the International Federation of Library Associations and Institutions (IFLA) and serves on several editorial/advisory boards of various publications, among them Collaborative Librarianship. As part of our interview series with members of our Advisory Board, Collaborative Librarianship caught up with Dr. Lau to find out about Mexican libraries and the opportunities and challenges in collaboration.
Mexican-American immigration is positively related to Mexico’s macro and micro economic conditions. Empirical evidence shows that the effects of NAFTA are mixed. The trade policy raised the demand for skill by reducing rents in industries that previously paid high wages, increased FDI (foreign direct investment), increased Mexican-American trade and economic integration, and caused a reshuffling of unskilled wages in both Mexico and the US. These effects possess a positive relationship to geographical location and economies of scale, with northern states reaping the benefits of higher wages, more investment, and more trade. Although NAFTA was a step in the right direction, it has been overshadowed by the lingering effects of inflationary public investment. These policies inefficiently allocated resources in priority sectors and demographic shifts within the Mexican population. Neoclassical economic theory predicts convergence in goods prices across countries. This will lead to stable economic conditions for Mexico, thereby mitigating the push factors involved in Mexican-American emigration. Hypothesis: NAFTA significantly decreased immigration since implementation.
Since the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) was enacted in 1994, the amount of foreign direct investment (FDI) inflow in Mexico has increased significantly. After 20 years since NAFTA’s inception, this paper examines how FDI flows into Mexico compare to total factor productivity (TFP) for the 1960-2013 period. Results show there is a statistically significant unexplained portion of TFP positively affecting FDI. Factors used to determine TFP include total imports, total exports, and unemployment rate from 1980-2013. Results conclude that there are implications regarding international trade policy of the negative effects on FDI as they pertain to Mexico before and after the inauguration of NAFTA.