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PLACA Brown Bag Series presents: Rayome Donald

341 Eggers Hall

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Mopan Maya ecological engineering: Emergy evaluation of design strategies for sustainable ecosystem restoration and human subsistence Many indigenous groups traditionally manage local ecosystems to provide for familial needs while protecting their surrounding environment, and such practices can aid in understanding efficient and sustainable ecosystem design strategies.  The Mopan Maya of southern Belize practice an agroforestry system that conserves the surrounding rainforest while utilizing natural forces to drive change through nine distinct successional stages, including three herbaceous, two shrub, and four forest stages.  This presentation discusses Mopan traditional ecological knowledge (TEK), quantitatively describes the plant community and associated soil ecology of successional stages, and presents embodied energy (emergy) evaluations at the individual field, system stage, and whole system levels.  Emergy analysis is a useful tool for evaluation of resource utilization, productivity, and sustainability of agroforestry methods as it considers all system components on a common unit basis of solar origin.  Design tenets of Mopan TEK offer tools to provide for familial needs while concurrently promoting a biotically-varied rainforest ecosystem.  As Mopan techniques originate in highland areas, their success in lowland forests after migration over a century ago provides an example of potential applicability and adaptability of such design strategies in regional conservation and restoration efforts.  Refreshments will be served.

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