Our Race Against Time

Facing the Highest Deforestation Rates

Satellite images capturing the local surroundings of Belize and Guatemala

The Maya forest reflects the countless generations of cultivation that make it one of the world’s most biodiverse regions. It is home to a variety of wildlife and provides great economic value for its versatile plant uses.

However, it faces the danger of vanishing experiencing one of the highest deforestation rates in the world. It is estimated that 80% of the area’s original habitat has been cleared or severely modified with the expansion of industrial agriculture. 

This development of modern monocrop agriculture threatens this resource that meets the agricultural needs of the growing population and overwhelms traditional farming practices worldwide.

Indigenous Science at Risk of Being Lost

Of the 8 million Maya living in the greater Yucutan Peninsula area today, fewer are practicing traditional forest gardening.  The expansion of industrial farming and other complex societal factors continue to decrease the number of farmers who still use traditional Maya land management methods. This combined with disinterested youth puts these traditions in great danger of vanishing.

Maya forest gardener teaching a group of researchers in the forest

Losing this knowledge means losing a proven model of agricultural sustainability that could save the natural resources of Mesoamerican forests, provide essential foods to thousands, and forest cover that conserves water and lowers the temperature. By learning how the Maya create and maintain their food forests, we can adapt their knowledge to other environments around the world and help create sustainable food systems that improve soil quality, conserve water, enhance biodiversity, and ensure food sovereignty.

maya glyph of

Your Support Grows the Earth

Stand up for the conservation of the Maya forest gardening tradition. Your support will help this valuable knowledge survive for centuries to come, while helping us cultivate solutions for our global environmental crisis.

Maya Forest Gardeners is a project of Exploring Solutions Past, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, and all donations are fully tax-deductible.