What can we learn from the people of the Maya Lowlands?
Integrating history, biodiversity, ethnobotany, geology, ecology, archaeology, anthropology, and other disciplines, The Lowland Maya Area is a valuable guide to the fascinating relationship between man and his environment in the Yucatan peninsula. This book covers virtually every aspect of the biology and ecology of the Maya Lowlands and the many ways that human beings have interacted with their surroundings in that area for the last three thousand years. You'll learn about newly discovered archaeological evidence of wetland use; the domestication and use of cacao and henequen plants; a biodiversity assessment of a select group of plants, animals, and microorganisms; the area's forgotten cotton, indigo, and wax industries; the ecological history of the Yucatan Peninsula; and much more. This comprehensive book will open your eyes to all that we can learn from the Maya people, who continue to live on their native lands, integrating modern life with their old ways and teaching valuable lessons about human dependence on and management of environmental resources.
The Lowland Maya Area explores:
the impact of hurricanes and fire on local environments
historic and modern Maya concepts of forests
the geologic history of the Yucatan
challenges to preserving Maya architecture
newly-discovered evidence of fertilizer use among the ancient Maya
cooperation between locals and researchers that fosters greater knowledge on both sides
recommendations to help safeguard the future
The Lowland Maya Area is an ideal single source for reliable information on the many ecological and social issues of this dynamic area. Providing you with the results of the most recent research into many diverse fields, including traditional ecological knowledge, the difficult transition to capitalism, agave production, and the diversity of insect species, this book will be a valuable addition to your collection.
As the editors of The Lowland Maya Area say in their concluding chapter: "If we are to gain global perspective from the changing Maya world, it is that understanding space and time is absolutely critical to human persistence." Understanding how the Maya have interacted with their environment for thousands of years while maintaining biodiversity will help us understand how we too can work for sustainable development in our own environments.
About the Editors Contributors Foreword Acknowledgments Part I: Introduction Chapter 1. Research Challenges for the Lowland Maya Area: An Introduction Part II: The Biological and Physical Environment Chapter 2. The Changing Global Environment and the Lowland Maya: Past Patterns and Current Dynamics Introduction Past Environments and the Yucatan Peninsula The El Eden Tropical Seasonal Forest: Current Ecosystem Structure Ecosystem Dynamics: Current versus Past Current and Projected Environmental Change and the Yucatan Peninsula Conclusion Chapter 3. In the Beginning: Early Events in the Development of Mesoamerica and the Lowland Maya Area Introduction Geologic History Climatic History Vegetational History Conclusion Chapter 4. Paleolimnological Approaches for Inferring Past Climate Change in the Maya Region: Recent Advances and Methodological Limitations Introduction Theoretical Basis for Isotope-Based Paleoclimate Studies Choosing a Study Site Complementary Sediment Proxies Results and Discussion Chapter 5. Rhythms of Precipitation in the Yucatan Peninsula Introduction Experimental Details Normal Conditions for the Yucatan Peninsula Yucatan in the Context of SPI-12 of All Mexico Periodicity Typical Patterns Conclusion Chapter 6. Structure and Diversity of the Forests at the El Eden Ecological Reserve Introduction Study Area Methods and Materials Results Discussion Chapter 7. Hydrogeology of the Yucatan Peninsula General Geology of the Northern Yucatan Peninsula Soils Regional Hydrogeology Evaporites/Breccia As a Source of Geochemical Tracers Coastal Region Origin of the Coastal Lagoons Other Studies Conclusion Chapter 8. Depression Soils in the Lowland Tropics of Northwestern Belize: Anthropogenic and Natural Origins Introduction Environments Holocene Human-Environment Relations Soils Methods Soil Findings: Physical and Chemical Characteristics Soil Excavations Around La Milpa Alluvial Lowlands: Dos Hombres and Sierra de Agua Surveys Interpretation: Radiocarbon Dates Environmental Change and Bajo Aggradation Hypotheses About Soil Profile Deformation Conclusion Chapter 9. Interaction of Microorganisms with Maya Archaeological Materials Introduction Microbial Biofilm Formation Microbiology of Maya Archaeological Structures Material Degradation Process and Analysis Effects of Air Pollution Preventative Measures Conclusion Chapter 10. Impacts of Hurricanes on the Forests of Quintana Roo, Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico Introduction Hurricanes on the Yucatan Peninsula Methods Results Discussion Part III: Biodiversity Chapter 11. The Role of Periphyton in the Regulation and Supply of Nutrients in a Wetland at El Eden, Quintana Roo Introduction Study Area and Sampling Methods Laboratory Methods and Materials Results Discussion Conclusion Chapter 12. Distribution and Ecology of Myxomycetes in the Forests of Yucatan Introduction Study Area Methods and Materials Results Discussion Chapter 13. A Preliminary Assessment of the Butterfly Fauna of El Eden Ecological Reserve: Species Richness and Habitat Preferences Introduction Methods Results Discussion Appendix: Checklist of the Butterflies at El Eden Ecological Reserve, Quintana Roo, Mexico Chapter 14. Diversity of Chalcidoidea (Hymenoptera) at El Eden Ecological Reserve, Mexico Introduction How Many Species of Chalcidoidea? How Many Species in Mexico? Species Richness at El Eden Species Richness in Central America Where Do We Go from Here? Conclusion Chapter 15. Diversity and Habitat Associations of the Ants (Insecta: Formicidae) of El Eden Ecological Reserve Introduction Materials and Methods Results Discussion Appendix: List of the Ant Species Collected at El Eden Ecological Reserve, Quintana Roo, Mexico Chapter 16. The "Nonmarine" Mollusks of the Yucatan Peninsula: A Review Introduction Yucatan Quintana Roo Campeche Low Species Richness versus High Species Richness Subsistence Studies in the Maya Region Summary Chapter 17. Fungi in the Maya Culture: Past, Present, and Future Introduction Knowledge in the Past Mycological and Ethnomycological Studies in the Maya Area The Project on the Fungi of El Eden Ecological Reserve, Quintana Roo Chapter 18. Moss Distribution in the Yucatan Peninsula Introduction Method Results Discussion Part IV: Agriculture Chapter 19. Archaeological Evidence for Ancient and Historic Resource Use Associated with the El Eden Wetland, Northern Quintana Roo, Mexico Introduction Wetlands of the Yalahau Region Previous Studies of Wetland Use in the Northern Maya Lowlands Survey Methods Results Interpretation Conclusion Chapter 20. Three Millennia in the Southern Yucatan Peninsula: Implications for Occupancy, Use, and Carrying Capacity Introduction The Concept of Carrying Capacity Carrying Capacity and the Southern Yucatan Peninsular Region Environmental Impacts Three Millennia Clues Chapter 21. Periphyton As a Potential Biofertilizer in Intensive Agriculture of the Ancient Maya Introduction Materials and Methods Results and Discussion Conclusions Chapter 22. Initial Evidence for Use of Periphyton As an Agricultural Fertilizer by the Ancient Maya Associated with the El Eden Wetland, Northern Quintana Roo, Mexico Introduction The Yalahau Wetlands Makabil Topography of El Eden Searching for Periphyton at Makabil Results Discussion Chapter 23. Domestication and Distribution of the Chocolate Tree (Theobroma cacao L.) in Mesoamerica Introduction Taxonomic Background Diversity of Cacao in Ancient Mesoamerica The Distribution of T. cacao Do Wild Populations of T. cacao Exist in Mexico? The Cultivation of T. cacao in South America Conclusion Chapter 24. The Domestication of Henequen (Agave fourcroydes Lem.) Introduction Materials and Methods Results and Discussion Chapter 25. Bioprospection Studies at El Eden: From Plants to Fungi Introduction El Eden Ecological Reserve Studies on Plants Studies on Fungi Conclusion Chapter 26. Ancient and Contemporary Maya Conceptions About Field and Forest The Ordered World The Forest Wilds The Wilderness and the Classic Maya Political Landscape The Forest and Supernatural Power Conclusion Part V: Plants and People Chapter 27. Geographical and Historical Variation in Hurricanes Across the Yucatan Peninsula Introduction Methods Results and Discussion Chapter 28. Anthropogenic Vegetation: A Garden Experiment in the Maya Lowlands Introduction and Overview: The Garden Experiment The Commons Setting Agroforestry Behaviors Mental Models of Folk Ecology Communication Networks Different Values Conclusion: Spiritual Games Chapter 29. Traditional Knowledge of Plant Resources Introduction History of Research Chunhuhub: Uses for Plants Plant Classification Managing Plants Conclusion Chapter 30. The Tropical Forest Action Program: A Different Way to Handle the Management and Conservation of Natural Resources Introduction The Role of PROAFT A.C. Conclusion Chapter 31. The (Almost) Forgotten Plants of Yucatan Introduction Indigenous Plants Nonindigenous Plants Conclusion Chapter 32. From Milpero and Lunero to Henequenero: A Transition to Capitalism in Yucatan, Mexico Introduction Henequen Production: Social and Natural Conditions Demography and Social Organization of the Henequen Hacienda From Lunero to Henequenero Conclusion Part VI: The Future Chapter 33. Restoration of Tropical Seasonal Forest in Quintana Roo Introduction Restoration Goals Disturbance and Succession in Seasonal Tropical Forest Restoration Experiments at El Eden Chapter 34. The School of Ecological Agriculture: A Viable Liaison Between Campesinos and Researchers in the Yucatan Peninsula Introduction Background Organization of the SEA Highlights and Lessons Learned Chapter 35. HabitatNet: Conducting Biodiversity Research with Secondary-School Science Classes Introduction Methods Study Areas Results Discussion Part VII: Summary of Recommendations Chapter 36. The Maya Lowlands: A Case Study for the Future? Conclusions Introduction Mosaics Biodiversity Climate Collapse Population Density Food Persistence, Recovery, and Sustainability Synthesis Index Reference Notes Included