To conserve and sustainably use both the wild and cultivated prickly pear, it is necessary to recognize the traditional skills and knowledge that exist regarding this resource. Species richness and variations in prickly pear fields and plots are often similar or even greater than that of wild prickly pear. In certain areas species that no longer exist in the wild are preserved. The fundamental resource for the development of new prickly pear varieties is found in the prickly pear fields and plots and therefore the conservation of these is of great importance for the future of the prickly pear and its derivatives in our country. Such forms of production that imply constant and careful work should be well paid so that they can contribute to fighting poverty in the regions of production.
In recent decades, overgrazing and clearing for planting crops or urban expansion effect a decrease in the area of prickly pear coverage and, in some regions, have caused the disappearance of certain species. Together with communities, ejidos and small landowners, it is necessary to exploit prickly pear in a manner that does not jeopardize its integrity, and to monitor its conservation and promote programs of repopulation with local prickly pears.