Shortly after sunrise, several women arrive at a tree nursery on the outskirts of Cheran, an Indigenous Purepecha town in the Mexican state of Michoacan.

For years, they have cared for thousands of trees being used to reforest areas destroyed by illegal logging operations. Between 2006 and 2012, researchers estimate that about 70 percent of Cheran’s forests were ravaged by organised criminals as locals staged protests to denounce police inaction.

During those years, residents became used to the sight of dozens of trucks driving through their town, loaded with timber stolen from local forests. Violent confrontations ensued, with more than a dozen community members reportedly killed or disappeared.