Multiple use and biodiversity within the mayan communities of Yucatan, Mexico

Victor M. Toledo, Narciso Barrera-Bassols, Eduardo García-Frapolli, Pablo Alarcón-Chaires

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

    45 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Based on a detailed review of the literature, an account is offered of the number of the regional flora and fauna species used by Mayan communities of the Yucatán Peninsula, Mexico. Data is presented about the useful biodiversity in the milpa and other agricultural practices, in family orchards, apiculture and meliponiculture, extraction and collection forestry resources, hunting and fishing. It is estimated that a local Mayan community utilizes, on the average, between 300 and 500 species of animals and plants. A case study of the community of Punta Laguna, Yucatan, Mexico, illustrates the dynamics of a group of 13 activities that form the local strategy of multiple uses when applied to the analysis of monetary flow. It is concluded that this multiple strategy explains the large number of species used by Mayan families and communities, inducing a kind of special equilibrium by maintaining a mosaic shaped landscape pattern that operates as an effective ecological and economic mechanism, and partly explains the resilience of the nature-culture system. Finally, attention is called upon the importance of recognizing the multiple strategy in exploring the past of the Mayan culture and in discussing about its future.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)345-352
    JournalInterciencia
    Volume33
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2008

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