Evodia Silva, a CICADA academic partner who conducts research on sustainability and sustainable development, works with the Totonac Voladores of Veracruz, Mexico. The Ritual de los Voladores is a Totonac ceremony, during which the Voladores climb a tree pole and swing around it until they reach the ground. UNESCO recognized the Ritual de los Voladores as an Intangible Cultural Heritage in 2009. This ceremony, however, is being compromised by development projects, such as urban growth and logging, given that the Voladores rely on having trees to create their ritual poles.
Silva has been working with the Totonac on agroforestry and action research in an attempt to restore the northern Veracruz landscape. Silva’s research relies on techniques of knowledge revitalization about species and systems of ecological, economic, and cultural importance for future landscape planning. Silva proposes a Diversified Agroforestry Model, which has many aims:
1- Re-dignify the traditions and the ritual dance of the Voladores
2- Re-evaluate the biocultural elements of Voladores’ environment
3- Improve the quality of life for local communities
This model revolves around a strategy of short and long term planning which emphasises the local context and local people’s needs. This model proposes municipal and state support schemes for developing the proposed strategy.