The Lowland Maya Area

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Overview

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 Yucatán 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 Yucatán 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 Yucatán
  • 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.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781560229704
  • Publisher: CRC Press
  • Publication date: 1/28/2003
  • Pages: 659
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 8.60 (h) x 1.90 (d)

Table of Contents

  • 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 Yucatán Peninsula
  • The El Edén Tropical Seasonal Forest: Current Ecosystem Structure
  • Ecosystem Dynamics: Current versus Past
  • Current and Projected Environmental Change and the Yucatán 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 Yucatán Peninsula
  • Introduction
  • Experimental Details
  • Normal Conditions for the Yucatán Peninsula
  • Yucatán in the Context of SPI-12 of All Mexico
  • Periodicity
  • Typical Patterns
  • Conclusion
  • Chapter 6. Structure and Diversity of the Forests at the El Edén Ecological Reserve
  • Introduction
  • Study Area
  • Methods and Materials
  • Results
  • Discussion
  • Chapter 7. Hydrogeology of the Yucatán Peninsula
  • General Geology of the Northern Yucatán 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, Yucatán Peninsula, Mexico
  • Introduction
  • Hurricanes on the Yucatán 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 Edén, 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 Yucatán
  • Introduction
  • Study Area
  • Methods and Materials
  • Results
  • Discussion
  • Chapter 13. A Preliminary Assessment of the Butterfly Fauna of El Edén Ecological Reserve: Species Richness and Habitat Preferences
  • Introduction
  • Methods
  • Results
  • Discussion
  • Appendix: Checklist of the Butterflies at El Edén Ecological Reserve, Quintana Roo, Mexico
  • Chapter 14. Diversity of Chalcidoidea (Hymenoptera) at El Edén Ecological Reserve, Mexico
  • Introduction
  • How Many Species of Chalcidoidea?
  • How Many Species in Mexico?
  • Species Richness at El Edén
  • 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 Edén Ecological Reserve
  • Introduction
  • Materials and Methods
  • Results
  • Discussion
  • Appendix: List of the Ant Species Collected at El Edén Ecological Reserve, Quintana Roo, Mexico
  • Chapter 16. The "Nonmarine" Mollusks of the Yucatán Peninsula: A Review
  • Introduction
  • Yucatán
  • 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 Edén Ecological Reserve, Quintana Roo
  • Chapter 18. Moss Distribution in the Yucatán Peninsula
  • Introduction
  • Method
  • Results
  • Discussion
  • Part IV: Agriculture
  • Chapter 19. Archaeological Evidence for Ancient and Historic Resource Use Associated with the El Edén 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 Yucatán Peninsula: Implications for Occupancy, Use, and Carrying Capacity
  • Introduction
  • The Concept of Carrying Capacity
  • Carrying Capacity and the Southern Yucatán 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 Edén Wetland, Northern Quintana Roo, Mexico
  • Introduction
  • The Yalahau Wetlands
  • Makabil
  • Topography of El Edén
  • 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 Edén 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 Yucatán 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 Yucatán
  • Introduction
  • Indigenous Plants
  • Nonindigenous Plants
  • Conclusion
  • Chapter 32. From Milpero and Lunero to Henequenero: A Transition to Capitalism in Yucatán, 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 Edén
  • Chapter 34. The School of Ecological Agriculture: A Viable Liaison Between Campesinos and Researchers in the Yucatán 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
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