A groundbreaking new book co-authored by a UC Santa Barbara researcher asserts the Maya not only survived their presumed apocalypse, they thrive today using farming techniques that are thousands of years old. “The Maya Forest Garden: Eight Millennia of Sustainable Cultivation of the Tropical Woodlands” (Left Coast Press, 2015) by UCSB’s Anabel Ford and Ronald Nigh demonstrates that the Maya milpa system is sustainable, sophisticated and highly productive.
“This is a new paradigm and alternative to the received wisdom,” said Ford, director of the MesoAmerican Research Center at UCSB. An archaeologist, she has been working in Mesoamerica since 1972 and discovered the ancient Maya city of El Pilar in 1983. “We see it as a wake-up call to be taken seriously for the conservation of the Maya forest.