Building ties: Social capital network analysis of a forest community in a biosphere reserve in Chiapas, Mexico

Luis Rico García-Amado, Manuel Ruiz Pérez, Irene Iniesta-Arandia, Guillaume Dahringer, Felipe Reyes, Sara Barrasa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

35 Citations (Scopus)


Governance of the commons depends on the capacity to generate collective action. Networks and rules that foster that collective action have been defined as social capital. However, their causal link is still not fully understood. We use social network analysis to assess social capital, decision-making, and collective action in a forest-based common pool resource management in La Sepultura Biosphere Reserve (Chiapas, Mexico). Our research analyzes the productive networks and the evolution of coffee groups in one community. The network shows some centrality, with richer landholders tending to occupy core positions and poorer landless peasants occupying peripheral ones. This has fostered the community's environmentally oriented development but has also caused internal conflicts. Market requirements have shaped different but complementary productive networks, where organic coffee commercialization is the main source of bridging ties, which has resulted in more connectivity and resilience. Conservation attitudes, along with the institutional setting of the community, have promoted collective action. The unresolved conflicts, however, still leave some concerns about governance in the future.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEcology and Society
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2012


  • Collective action
  • Community forest management
  • Ejido
  • Mexico
  • Social capital
  • Social network analysis


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