The Maya Tropical Forest: People, Parks, and Ancient CIties by James D. NationsThe Maya Tropical Forest: People, Parks, and Ancient CIties by James D. Nations

The Maya Tropical Forest: People, Parks, and Ancient CIties

byJames D. Nations

Paperback | July 1, 2006

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The Maya Tropical Forest, which occupies the lowlands of southern Mexico, Guatemala, and Belize, is the closest rainforest to the United States and one of the most popular tourist destinations in the Western Hemisphere. It has been home to the Maya peoples for nearly four millennia, starting around 1800 BC. Ancient cities in the rainforest such as Palenque, Yaxchilan, Tikal, and Caracol draw thousands of tourists and scholars seeking to learn more about the prehistoric Maya. Their contemporary descendants, the modern Maya, utilize the forest's natural resources in village life and international trade, while striving to protect their homeland from deforestation and environmental degradation.

Writing for both visitors and conservationists, James Nations tells the fascinating story of how ancient and modern Maya peoples have used and guarded the rich natural resources of the Maya Tropical Forest. He opens with a natural history that profiles the forest's significant animals and plants. Nations then describes the Maya peoples, biological preserves, and major archaeological sites in Mexico, Guatemala, and Belize. Drawing on more than twenty-five years of conservation work in the Maya Tropical Forest, Nations tells first-hand stories of the creation of national parks and other protected areas to safeguard the region's natural resources and archaeological heritage. He concludes with an expert assessment of the forest's future in which he calls for expanded archaeological tourism to create an ecologically sustainable economic base for the region.

James D. Nations directs the Center for State of the Parks at the National Parks Conservation Association in Washington, D.C.
Title:The Maya Tropical Forest: People, Parks, and Ancient CItiesFormat:PaperbackDimensions:368 pages, 9.03 × 6.03 × 0.93 inPublished:July 1, 2006Publisher:University Of Texas PressLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0292713185

ISBN - 13:9780292713185


Table of Contents

  • Preface
  • Acknowledgments
  • Notes on Names and Orthography
  • On Distances and Measures
  • Epochs of Civilization in the Maya Tropical Forest
  • Part One: Time, Land, and Forest
    • 1. Introduction to the Maya Tropical Forest
      • Sidebar: Biosphere Reserves
    • 2. History of the Maya Tropical Forest
      • The New Land's Form
      • The Rise of Maya Civilization
      • The Classic Maya
      • First Encounters
      • A Mysterious Poison
      • Conquest of the Lowland Maya
      • The Rise of the Western World
    • 3. Natural History of the Maya Tropical Forest
      • Introduction
      • Weather
      • Animals
      • Sidebar: U kunyah chäk k'ek'en (Lacandón Maya Chant to Cure the Coatimundi Growling Disease)
      • Wild Plants
  • Part Two: Mexico, Guatemala, and Belize
    • 4. Mexico
      • The Selva Lacandona
      • People of the Selva Lacandona
      • Protected Areas
      • Archaeological Sites
      • Sidebar: The Best Pilot in Chiapas
      • Sidebar: Letter from Calakmul
    • 5. Guatemala
      • Introduction
      • The Maya Tropical Forest in Guatemala
      • Modern Peoples in the Guatemalan Petén
      • Protected Areas
      • Major Archaeological Sites in the Guatemalan Petén
      • Sidebar: The Lacandón Maya in Guatemala
    • 6. Belize
      • Introduction
      • Geography of Belize
      • Modern Peoples
      • Protected Areas
      • Archaeological Sites
  • Part Three: The Future of the Maya Tropical Forest
    • 7. The Future of the Selva Maya
      • Introduction
      • Protected Areas: Threats and Solutions
      • Archaeology: Threats and Solutions
      • Cultural Diversity: Threats and Solutions
      • The Challenge of Population Growth
      • The Promise of Ecological Tourism
      • Regional Incentives
      • Lessons from the Ancient Maya
  • Glossary
  • References Cited
  • Index