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Abstract Detail

Paleobotanical Section

Lindsay , Colleen Elise [1].

Environmental vs. Anthropogenic Landscape Effects: the demise of the Maya.

Ideas regarding the positive or negative impact on Classic Maya landscape modifications have sparked controversy that needs a resolution. Some have argued that the landscape modification spawned the end of the Maya civilization while others conclude that other factors created the downfall, and the Maya method of land management sustained their culture throughout both the rise and the fall. My research analyzes the Maya landscape via two directions of analysis: living plant specimens collected from around a Classic Maya center and sediment cores from pools near the center. These lines of analysis form the basis for my preliminary research into the Maya landscape and the resulting demise of the Maya civilization. I argue that, while the people remained on the landscape, the environmental consequences of their later land management combined with climatic impacts resulted in the collapse of this mighty civilization. However,their landscape conservation techniques provide the framework for further analysis into how the Maya were able to construct terrains that survived centuries and still positively influence the forest today.

Broader Impacts:

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1 - University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, Plant Biology, 505 South Goodwin Avenue, Urbana, IL, 61801, USA

environmental impact
Land management
climate change

Presentation Type: Oral Paper:Papers for Sections
Session: 12
Location: Lindell C/Chase Park Plaza
Date: Monday, July 11th, 2011
Time: 2:00 PM
Number: 12003
Abstract ID:214

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