In multi-hop ad hoc networks, the efficiency of a medium access control protocol under heavy traffic load depends mainly on its ability to schedule a large number of simultaneous non-interfering transmissions. However, as each node has only a local view of the network, it is difficult to globally synchronize transmission times over the whole network. How does the lack of global coordination affect spatial reuse in multi-hop wireless networks? We show that in a de-centralized network the spatial reuse does not benefit from global clock synchronization. On the contrary, we demonstrate that non-slotted protocols using collision avoidance mechanisms can achieve a higher spatial reuse than the corresponding slotted protocols. By means of a simple backoff mechanism, one can thus favor the spontaneous emergence of spatially dense transmission schedules.