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The Evolutionary Potential of Lacandon Maya Sustained-Yield Tropical Forest Agriculture

As centuries-long residents of the southern Maya lowlands, the Lacandon Maya of Chiapas, Mexico have developed and preserved ecologically sound strategies for sustained-yield food production in the tropical forest biome. Their traditional system of agriculture and food extraction emphasizes successful exploitation of the rain forest environment in a manner compatible with forest regeneration and preservation. The authors describe the Lacandon systems of agricultural production, wildlife management, and forest maintenance, then explore the potential these strategies hold for investigation of ancient Maya food production systems and the development of modern resource utilization schemes in the humid tropics.