Lacandon Maya Forest Management: Restoration of Soil Fertility Using Native Tree Species

Diemont, S.A.W., J.F. Martin, S.I. Levy-Tacher, R.B. Nigh, P. Ramirez Lopez and J.D. Golicher

Publication Date:

In southern Mexico, where rainforests are being degraded rapidly, the Lacandon Maya use an agroforestry system that both restores and conserves the rainforest. Their system cycles through field and fallow stages that produce food, medicines, and raw materials, and regenerates tall secondary forest. This investigation identified plants managed by Lacandon to restore soil fertility during fallow. Our research shows that the Lacandon are cognizant of the natural abilities of certain species to fulfill the restoration needs in their systems. It demonstrates that Maya agroforestry and local knowledge could contribute to efforts to conserve and restore rainforests, and reduce deforestation by accelerating fallow in tropical agriculture.

STAPER categories:
  • C1: Identify appropriate measures for conducting ecosystem restoration

Resource Type:
Peer-reviewed Article

Ecological Engineering