20 - Land Architecture in the Maya Lowlands: Implications for Sustainability  pp. 445-463

Land Architecture in the Maya Lowlands: Implications for Sustainability

By B.L. Turner and Deborah Lawrence

Image View Previous Chapter Next Chapter



The Anthropocene (Crutzen and Stoermer 2001) signifies the elevation of humankind to a force of environmental change equivalent to nature, capable of affecting ecosystems, including the Earth system (Steffen et al. 2003). While overwhelming attention has been given to this role in climate change (IPCC 2007), the human impress on the environment is registered throughout the Earth system, especially in regard to the configuration of the terrestrial surface of the Earth (Turner et al. 1990). Humankind matches, and in some instances, exceeds nature in determining the land covers of the Earth, and in this role is a large factor in the structure and function of the environment (Vitousek et al. 1997). Indeed, anthropogenic biomes (or coupled human–environment systems) dominate about 75% of the ice-free land surface (Ellis and Ramankutty 2008), appropriating about 25% of terrestrial net primary production (Haberl et al. 2007). They change the capacity of the land system to deliver environmental (ecosystem) services (MEA 2005), often with consequences for human uses and livelihoods.

Such change and consequences have long been mimicked at subglobal scales, with highly differential outcomes for human–environment relationships (Thomas 1956, Turner and McCandless 2004). Some coupled land systems have been operating since antiquity, including certain intensive wet rice systems of cultivation that have been in place 4,500 years (Crawford and Shen 1998). Others have fundamentally altered the delivery of environmental services to which the human subsystem has adapted, such as the Mediterranean rimlands (Butzer 2005, McNeill 1992). Yet other coupled systems have failed, especially those involving intensive resource use on small islands or inappropriate water management in arid lands, with and without climate change (Tainter 1988, Redman 1999, Diamond 2005).

Beach T. 2002 Upland agriculture in the Maya lowlands: Ancient Maya social conservation in northwestern Belize Geographical Review 92 372
Binford MW M Brenner TJ Whitmore 1987 Ecosystems, paleoecology and human disturbance in subtropical and tropical America Quaternary Science Reviews 6 115
Boose ER DR Foster AB Plotkin B Hall 2003 Geographical and historical variation in hurricanes across the Yucat??n Peninisula 193 A Gómez-Pompa MF Allen S Fedick JJ Jiménez-Osornio Lowland Maya Area: Three Millennia at the Human-Wildland Interface New York, NY Haworth Press
Broecker WS TF Stocker 2006 The Holocene CO2 rise: Anthropogenic or natural? Eos 87 27
Brosi BJ PR Armsworth GC Daily 2008 Optimal design of agricultural landscapes for pollination services Conservation Letters 1 27
Butzer KW. 2005 Environmental history in the Mediterranean world: Cross-disciplinary investigation of cause-and-effect for degradation and soil erosion Journal of Archaeological Science 32 1773
Chan KMA MR Shaw DR Cameron EC Underwood GC Daily 2006 Conservation planning for ecosystem services PLoS Biology 4 2138
Chase AF PM Rice 1985 The Lowland Maya Postclassic Austin, TX University of Texas Press
Crawford GW C Shen 1998 The origins of rice agriculture: Recent progress in East Asia Antiquity 278 858
Crutzen PJ E Stoermer 2001 The “Anthropocene” Global Change Newsletter 41 12
Culbert PT 1973 The Classic Maya Collapse Albuquerque, NM University of New Mexico Press
Culbert TP DS Rice 1990 Precolumbian Population History in the Maya Lowlands Albuquerque, NM University of New Mexico Press
Deevey ES DS Rice PM Rive 1979 Mayan urbanism: Impact on a tropical karst environment Science 206 298
deFrance SD CA Hanson 2008 Labor, population movement, and food in sixteenth-century Ek Balam, Yucatán Booger 19 299
DeLonge M P D'Odorico D Lawrence 2008 Feedbacks between phosphorus deposition and canopy cover: the emergence of multiple stable states in dry tropical forests Global Change Biology 14 154
Denevan WM. 1992 Stone vs. metal axes: The ambiguity of shifting cultivation in prehistoric Amazonia Journal of the Steward Anthropological Society 20 153
Diamond J. 2005 Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed New York, NY Viking
Diekmann LO. 2004 Soil nutrient dynamics during shifting cultivation in Campeche, Mexico University of Virginia Charlottesville, VA, USA
Durieux L LAT Machado H Laurent 2003 The impact of deforestation on cloud cover over the Amazon arc of deforestation Remote Sensing and Environment 86 132
Ellis EC E Ramankutty 2008 Putting people in the map: Anthropogenic biomes of the world Frontiers in Ecology and. Environment 6 439
Folan WJ LA Fletcher ER Kintz 1979 Fruit, fiber, bark, and resin: Social organization of a Maya urban center Science 204 607
Gómez-Pompa A A Kaus 1999 From pre-Hispanic to future conservation alternatives: Lessons from Mexico Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA 96 5982
Gómez-Pompa A J Salvador Flores V Souza 1987 The ‘pet kot’: a man made tropical forest of the Maya Interciencia 12 10
Garcia-Montiel DC C Neill J Melillo 2000 Soil phosphorus transformation following forest clearing for pasture in the Brazilian Amazon Soil Science Society of America Journal 64 1792
Gill RB. 2001 The Great Maya Droughts: Water, Life, and Death Albuquerque, NM University of New Mexico Press
Haberl H KH Erb F Krausmann 2007 Quantifying and mapping the human appropriation of net primary production in earth's terrestrial ecosystems Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA 104 12,942
Hansen RD S Bozarth J Jacob D Wahl 2002 Climatic and environmental variability in the rise of Maya civilization: A preliminary perspective from northern Petén Ancient Mesoamerica 13 273
Haug GH D Günther LC Petereson 2001 Climate and the collapse of Maya civilization Science 299 1731
Hodell DA JH Curtis M Brenner 1995 Possible role of climate in the collapse of Classic Maya civilization Nature 375 391
Hodell DA M Brenner JH Curtis T Guilderson 2001 Solar forcings of drought frequency in the Maya lowlands Science 292 1367
Huntington E. 1915 Maya civilization and climatic changes Proceedings, 19th International Congress of Americanists 19 150
IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) 2007 Climate Change 2007: Synthesis Report. Contribution of Working Groups I, II, and III to the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Geneva, Switzerland IPCC
Kauffman, JB RL Sanford DL Cummings IH Salcedo EVSB Sampaio 1993 Biomass and nutrient dynamics associated with slash fires in neotropical dry forests Ecology 74 140
Lambert JDH T Arnason 1982 Ramón and Maya ruins: An ecological, not economic, relation Science 216 298
Lawrence DL P D'Odorico L Diekman 2007 Ecological feedbacks following deforestation create the potential for a catastrophic ecosystem shift in tropical dry forest Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, USA 104 20,696
Leyden BW. 2002 Pollen evidence for climate variability and cultural disturbance in the Maya lowlands Ancient Mesoamerica 13 85
Li W R Fu E Dickinson 2006 Rainfall and its seasonality over the Amazon in the 21st century as assessed by the coupled models for the IPCC AR4 Journal of Geophysical Research 111 D02111
Lindenmayer DB J Fischer 2006 Habitat Fragmentation and Landscape Change: An Ecological and Conservation Synthesis Washington, D.C Island Press
Liu J T Dietz SR Carpenter 2007 Complexity of coupled human and natural systems Science 317 1513
Lowe JWG. 1985 The Dynamics of Apocalypse: A Systems Simulation of the Classic Maya Collapse Albuquerque, NM University of New Mexico Press
Lucero LJ. 2006 Water and Ritual: The Rise and Fall of Classic Maya Rulers Austin, TX University of Texas Press
Malhi Y JT Robets RA Betts 2007 Climate change, deforestation, and the fate of the Amazon Science 319 169
Mann C. 2005 1491. New Revelations of the Americas before Columbus New York, NY Knopf
Martin PS. 2005 Twilight of the Mammoths: Ice Age Extinctions and the Rewilding of America Berkeley, CA University of California Press
Martin S N Grube 2000 Chronicle of the Maya Kings and Queens: Deciphering the Dynasties of the Ancient Maya New York, NY Thames and Hudson
McNeill J. 1992 The Mountains of the Mediterranean World: An Environmental History New York, NY Cambridge University Press
MEA (Millennium Ecosystem Assessment) 2005 Ecosystems and Human Well-Being: Synthesis Washington, D.C Island Press
Mooney H. 2003 Ecosystems and Human Well-Being: A Framework for Assessment Washington, D.C Island Press
Mooney HA RJ Hobbs 2000 Invasive Species in a Changing World Washington, D.C Island Press
Okin GS N Mahowald OA Chadwick P Artaro 2004 Impact of desert dust on the biogeochemistry of phosphorus in terrestrial ecosystems Global Biogeochemical Cycles 18
Pérez-Salicrup D. 2003 Forest types and their implications 63 BL Turner II J Geoghegan DR Foster Integrated Land-Change Science and Tropical Deforestation In The Southern Yucatán: Final Frontiers Oxford Oxford University Press
Pejchar L PM Morgan MR Caldwell C Plamer GC Daily 2007 Evaluating the potential for conservation development: Biophysical, economics and institutional perspectives Conservation Biology 21 69
Pielke RA. 2006 Land use and climate change Science 310 1625
Redman CL 1999 Human Impact on Ancient Environments Tucson, AZ University of Arizona Press
Reyna RA 2007 Social ecology of the white-lipped peccary () in Calakmul Forest, Mexico University of Florida Gainesville, FL, USA
Rivera A S Calmé 2006 Forest fragmentation and the changes in the feeding ecology of the Black Howler Monkey in the Calakmul region 189 A Estrada P Garber M Pavelka L Luecke New Perspectives on the Distribution, Ecology and Conservation of Mesoamerican Primates New York, NY Springer
Ruddiman WF. 2005 Plows, Plagues and Petroleum: How Humans Took Control of Climate Princeton, NJ Princeton University Press
Rue DJ. 1987 Early agriculture and postclassic occupation in western Honduras Nature 326 285
Scarborough VL GG Gallopin 1991 A water storage adaptation in the Maya lowlands Science 251 658
Schneider L. 2004 Bracken fern invasion in southern Yucatán: A case for land-change science Geographical Review 94 229
Schneider L. 2006 Invasive species and land-use: The effect of land management practices on bracken fern invasion in the region of Calakmul, Mexico Journal of Latin American Geography 5 91
Steffen W A Sanderson PD Tyson 2003 Global Change and the Earth System: A Planet Under Pressure Berlin Springer
Swap R M Garstang S Greco R Talbot P Kallberg 1992 Saharan dust in the Amazon Basin Tellus Series B 44 133
Tainter J. 1988 The Collapse of Complex Societies Cambridge Cambridge University Press
Thomas WM Jr 1956 Man's Role in Changing the Face of the Earth Chicago, IL University of Chicago Press
Turner BL II 1990 Population reconstruction of the central Maya lowlands 301 TP Culbert DS Rice Precolumbian Population History in the Maya Lowlands Albuquerque, NM University of New Mexico Press
Turner BL II P Klepeis L Schneider 2003 Three millennia in the southern Yucat??n peninsular region: Implications for occupancy, use, and ???carrying capacity??? 361 A Gómez-Pompa M Allen S Fedick J Jimenez-Osornio The Lowland Maya Area: Three Millennia at the Human-Wildland Interface New York, NY Haworth Press
Turner BL II S McCandless 2004 How humankind came to rival nature: A brief history of the human-environment condition and the lessons learned 227 WC Clark P Crutzen HJ Schellnhuber Earth System Analysis for Sustainability Cambridge, MA MIT Press
Turner BL II WC Clark RW Kates 1990 The Earth as Transformed by Human Action: Global and Regional Changes in the Biosphere over the Past 300 Years New York, NY Cambridge University Press
Vitousek PM HA Mooney J Lubchenco JM Melillo 1997 Human domination of Earth's ecosystems Science 277 494
Vitousek PM. 1984 Litterfall, nutrient cycling and nutrient limitation in tropical forests Ecology 65 285
Walker TW JK Syers 1976 The fate of phosphorus during pedogenesis Geoderma 15 1
Webster D. 2002 The Fall of the Ancient Maya: Solving the Mystery of the Maya Collapse London Thames and Hudson
White C 1999 Reconstructing Ancient Maya Diet Salt Lake City, UT University of Utah Press
Whitmore T BL Turner II 2001 Cultivated Landscapes of Middle America on the Eve of Conquest Oxford Oxford University Press
Whitmore T D Johnson BL Turner, II RW Kates T Gottschang 1990 Long-term population change 25 BL Turner II WC Clark RW Kates The Earth as Transformed by Human Action New York, NY Cambridge University Press
Wright LE CD White 2005 Human biology in the Classic Maya collapse: Evidence from paleopathology and paleodiet Journal of World Prehistory 10 147