El manejo de las selvas por los Mayas: Sus implicaciones silvícolas y agrícolas

TitleEl manejo de las selvas por los Mayas: Sus implicaciones silvícolas y agrícolas
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication1977
AuthorsBarrera, A, Gomez-Pompa, A, Vazquez-Yans, C
Date Published1977
Keywordsecology; fallow; Mexico; Native Americans; tropical forests

The Maya culture is one of the very few outstanding cultures that flourished in a tropical rain forest area. Their land use strategies, as a part of the great Middle America civilization, for agriculture, horticulture and forestry remain up to date scattered among the Maya communities that have conserved their Indian heritage. They are based in a diversity of crops and land uses that are adopted to the different climatic regions of the Maya area. They used the space in the past in a magnificent way using horizontal and vertical strategies. They had channels, terraces and drained fields for intensive agriculture. They used shifting agriculture in soils where no other alternative seemed to be better. They used their wild plant resources and developed forest practices to enrich their forest with desirable species composition. The present floristic composition of many rain forests of the Maya area is a result of ancient silviculture practices. All of these practices were part of a single land use strategy. For these reasons we cannot blame the fall of the Maya culture to an "ecological collapse" as has been proposed.

We feel that the answer can be found in economic, political and social reasons. There is a lot to learn from the Mayans to solve some of the present day problems for the management of biotic resources of the tropics. (author)

Short TitleEl manejo de las selvas por los Mayas

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