The loss of maize landraces is of major global concern. Landraces provide the genetic building blocks for the development of high yielding pest- and drought-tolerant maize varieties, and their loss reduces the capacity to adapt to changing environmental conditions. The extinction of maize landraces is an incidental effect of the planting decisions of farmers. Although maize landraces are important both as a staple food and the source of traditional specialty foods required in particular cultural events and ceremonies, they are frequently displaced by high-yielding cultivars. The study considers the factors influencing on-farm maize diversity in the Lacandon tropical forest in the Mexican state of Chiapas. Using a censored regression model fitted with cross-sectional household farmer data, the factors behind crop choices was investigated, paying particular attention to the relation between crop diversity, wealth, and income transfers. It was found that maize diversity bears a non-monotonic relation to wealth, but is positively associated with both agricultural subsidies and poverty support.
Key words: Crop choice, crop diversity, Lacandon forest, maize diversity, poverty, on-farm conservation, Mexico, censored regression.
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