Did climate change impact ancient Maya?

Maya culture is alive and well today, if not thriving economically. Indeed, their population is burgeoning. But there is clear evidence of a serious decline in ancient times, a decline which may return with a vengeance. A new study discusses the issue. And it sounds like history is repeating itself today, including among those living NoB (north of the US border). If this hypothesis is correct, it could get worse, as there has been significant illegal harvesting of huge trees throughout central America and into southern Mexico, including the Peten jungle of southern Mexico. Will history repeat itself? Here’s a link to the article mentioning the study: (don’t miss the paintings in the slide show at bottom of link):

CLICK:  Maya Collapse Tied To Drought, Deforestation

Ancient ceiba tree in a Merida backyard is safe from loggers.



6 thoughts on “Did climate change impact ancient Maya?

  1. Interesting hypothesis that makes a lot of sense. That’s a nice tree you’re standing in front of . There are some old oaks about that size in my neighborhood in Virginia that are well over 100 years old.

  2. Hi John,
    Thanks for commenting. (I see that my clock is messed up, and will have to figure out how to reset it.) In the meantime, I’ve put up a report, above, of a troubling factor which could exacerbate things significantly. Hope you stop back to check it out. ~eric.

  3. That tree might not be as old as it might seem. I don’t know the growth rate of the Ceiba but many hardwoods get that big in 60-70 years. The Pin Oak, getting lots of water, will be 3 feet thick in about 55 years, the black Cherry in less. Now a White Oak-125 years to get 3 feet across. When I first started coming to Yucatan (1982), they were cutting the trees down off RT.186, many of the logs were 15 feet across that I saw on the trucks. Those trees are gone. Going into those areas today, in the Calakmul preserve, the logged out areas have recovered, with many 3 feet across or better trees standing.
    Here in Ohio, there is more standing timber than when I was young. Marginal farm fields have been given over to timber over the years. The old 40 cow dairy farms are thick with trees that spread from the treelines when the farms failed to pay the bills trying to make it with 40 milkers.
    The global warming seems to be making it warmer and wetter here in northeast Ohio. Very good for tree growth.

  4. Hi Norm,
    Wow, 15 feet across sounds like a wide load to haul — one tree per truck! I’ve got a picture of my wife in front of different Ceiba tree which is much wider than the one I’m in front of. I would guess it’s five or six feet in diameter. And there are two sugar maples near my barn here in NY which must be more than four feet in diameter. But 15′ sounds like redwood. I do agree that the northeast forest is coming back because farms are declining up here, too. (And my farm was a 40-cow farm.) I saw a study from Cornell that said a farmer could make money milking six cows or 300+, but not in between. (The six-cow guy has to buy all his feed and fodder, and can’t make any tractor payments.)

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