Vol. 1 No. 1 (2024)
Research Articles

Ahuehuete, Water Elder: Drought, Hope and ‘Comunalidad’ in Santa María del Tule, Oaxaca, Mexico

Max D. López Toledano
Yale-NUS College

Published 2024-04-15


  • drought,
  • precarity,
  • comunalidad,
  • hope,
  • capitalocene

How to Cite

López Toledano, Max D. 2024. “Ahuehuete, Water Elder: Drought, Hope and ‘Comunalidad’ in Santa María Del Tule, Oaxaca, Mexico”. Plant Perspectives 1 (1):41-70. https://doi.org/10.3197/whppp.63845494909706.


Santa María del Tule, Oaxaca, Mexico faced a unique dilemma in 2022. An unprecedented drought forced the community to choose between providing water to its residents or to the Tule Tree, which makes Tule a touristic destination by virtue of being the stoutest tree in the world. Considering that over 75 per cent of the people in Tule depend on tourism for income, the drought highlighted the interdependence between Tule’s human residents and the Tule tree. The drought announced the ecological precarity that Tule will be subjected to in coming years, making the future a rather uncertain horizon. Despite this, people in Santa María del Tule are willing to hope for better times. Tule residents find hope in ‘comunalidad’, a widespread value in the state of Oaxaca that is oriented towards autonomous governance and collective action.