Total Land Area [1]
93,757 km² 64.7 % Forest
Deforestation Trend
Original Forest Area
70,259 km²
Current Forest Area [2]
60,684 km² 0.425 % of Global Total
Total Area Deforested
9,575 km²
Total Forest Carbon
87 M MtC 0.055 % of Global Total

Oaxaca has an approximate area of 94,000 km² making it the fifth largest state in Mexico (4.8 percent of the country's total area). It is also the most biodiverse state in the country (García-Mendoza, Ordoñez, & Briones-Salas, 2004). Oaxaca is home to all eleven forest types identified by the national government (SEMARNAT, 2014)), and it has the third largest forested area in the country, with 6.2 million hectares (INFyS). It has one of the most important and extensive reserves of tropical forest in the Chimalapas region. 83 percent of the territory is in possession of agrarian communities (JCAO, 2015), which represent around 44.5 percent of the total population of the state (INEGI, 2014).

Oaxaca has an average annual production of 500,000 m3 of wood (fourth place nationally) and generates an annual economic income of approximately 50 million dollars and 60,000 jobs in indigenous communities (SEFIN, 2012a). The state is a national leader in the sustainable management of forests based on a community forestry, forest plantations, and environmental services model.

The predominant land use is forests (53 percent), followed by livestock (25 percent) and agriculture (16 percent), with 1,517 million hectares. Agriculture is mainly produced for self-consumption, with low levels of mechanization and productivity. Livestock in Oaxaca is primarily reared through small-scale production units.

The AFOLU sector contributes 42 percent of the total GHG emissions of the state (Government of the State of Oaxaca, 2015), 19,191 million tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO₂e) in 2013. Oaxaca reports a forest loss of around 31,000 hectares per year (USAID 2017). The main causes of deforestation are forest fires and change of land use, caused mainly by agricultural activities, as well as forest disease. In terms of degradation of ecosystems, 37.9% of the territory shows slight degradation, 24.2% has severe degradation, and 21.7% of the State is not effected by degradation. As forest area has been reduced, agricultural areas showed the highest gain from 2002 to 2015 (29,500 hectares per year).

Given the effects on the environment of agricultural activities and its potential to reduce deforestation and at the same time increase productivity, a public policy is being developed with the aim of aligning the development objectives of the agricultural sector with the needs of producers and the rural population through the design and implementation of the State Strategy to Reduce Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation of Forests and Jungles (EEREDD +). EEREDD + is aligned with the legal framework with the aim of adopting an integrated territorial management approach. The strategy seeks to promote productivity in the rural sector while maintaining forest resources.

Floriberto Vázquez Ruiz
Undersecretary of Climate Change, Biodiversity & Natural Resources
Alfredo Aarón Juárez
Director of Forestry Commission
Alejandro Murat Hinojosa
Population of State/Province [3]
3,967,889 3.5 % of National Population
Urban vs. Rural Population [4]
Urban 52.70 %
Rural 47.30 %
Ethnic Groups
Zapotecos 33.55 %
Mixtecos 23.52 %
Mazatecos 14.43 %
Chinantecos 8.87 %
Mixes 8.73 %
Chatinos 2.83 %
Other 2.13 %
Triquis 1.27 %
Cuicatecos 1.16 %
Huaves 1.15 %
Nahuas 0.89 %
Zoques 0.48 %
Chontales 0.46 %
Amuzgos 0.41 %
Chochos 0.12 %
State/Province GDP [5]
MXN 286,870,000,000
Annual Per Capita Income
MXN 44,243
Human Development Index [6]
GDP Breakdown
Services 61.20 %
Industry, Mining 33.16 %
Agriculture, Forestry 5.50 %
Main Exports
Mezcal, mangos, coffee, cars, electronics and aerospace
Forest Status (1)
Major Vegetation Types
Secondary Coniferous 15,239 km²
Secondary Deciduous 6,300 km²
Secondary Mesophytic Foresty 3,102 km²
Primary Mesophytic Forest 2,263 km²
Conifer Forest Primary 1,923 km²
Primary Deciduous 1,124 km²
Forest Management [7]
Ejido 78,000 km²
Protected Area 3,383 km²
Deforestation Rates
Drivers of Deforestation

In the case of Oaxaca, the direct causes that are most responsible for conversion of forests are the expansion of agricultural lands, forest fires, plagues and forest diseases, and illegal logging (information collected in the workshops for the elaboration of the EEREDD + Oaxaca, 2016) (USAID, et al, 2016).

The analysis of changes and permanence in the coverage between 1993-2002-2015, carried out with the series II, III and V of INEGI (1993, 2002, 2015), shows that the forests and jungles of Oaxaca presented their highest rate of change in the period from 1993 to 2002 (-0.88 percent) representing a loss of 57,379 hectares per year, from 2002 to 2015 its rate was -0.21 percent (12,636 hectares), for the period from 1993 to 2015 the average rate of change was of -0.48 percent, this represents a loss of 30,940 hectares each year on average (USAID 2017).

In terms of degradation, the analysis shows that the change in land use is the main cause of degradation of ecosystems; at the state level, 37.9% present slight degradation due to change in use and 24.2% present severe degradation, 21.7% of the State does not present degradation (USAID 2017).

(1) Due to different methodological approaches and base years, Forest Status data fields may differ slightly. Data sources for each field are listed below.
INEGI 2011
INEGI 2010
PNUD Mexico 2012