The agroecology of corn production in Tlaxcala, Mexico

TitleThe agroecology of corn production in Tlaxcala, Mexico
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1987
AuthorsAltieri, MA, Trujillo, J
JournalHuman Ecology
Date PublishedJune 1987
Keywordsagroecology; agroforestry; corn agroecosystem; ploycultures; traditional agriculture

The primary components of Tlaxcalan corn agriculture are described, including cropping patterns employed, resource management strategies, and interactions of human and biological factors. Tlaxcalan farmers grow corn in an array of poly-culture and agroforestry designs that result in a series of ecological processes important for insect pest and soil fertility management. Measurements derived from a few selected fields show that trees integrated into cropping systems modify the aerial and soil environment of associated understory corn plants, influencing their growth and yields. With decreasing distance from trees, surface concentrations of most soil nutrients increase. Certain tree species affect corn yields more than others. Arthropod abundance also varies depending on their degree of association with one or more of the vegetational components of the system. Densities of predators and the corn pest Macrodactylussp. depend greatly on the presence and phenology of adjacent alfalfa strips. Although the data were derived from nonreplicated fields, they nevertheless point out some important trends, information that can be used to design new crop associations that will achieve sustained soil fertility and low pest potentials. (author)

Journal Abbreviation

Hum Ecol


0300-7839; 1572-9915

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