chapter  5
The Forested Landscape of the Maya /
Pages 30

For the Maya, it was not enough to satisfy the needs for maize. The forest cover was also essential to supply natural resources, conserve water, enhance biodiversity, and replenish the soil. Their practice of reforestation is evident with pioneering trees heralding healthy forest regeneration. Today, the dominant palms and fruit trees of the tall canopy forest are as diverse as they are valuable. Yet, because these are pollinated by birds, bees, and bats-as in the past-they have gone undetected in fossil lake pollen. Moreover, not all hardwoods are found in the well-drained uplands where the ancient Maya lived: Trees valued for fruit, gum, and construction are abundant in the uninhabited wetlands, alerting us to the importance of the entire landscape to this people.