The Marceño Agroecosystem: Traditional Maize Production and Wetland Management in Tabasco, Mexico
Abstract, Sustainability, 2019
The marceño agroecosystem is based on traditional agriculture in the flooded areas of the alluvial plains of Tabasco, Mexico. In the marceño system, the native maize, called “mején”, is cultivated during the dry season using residual soil moisture. At physiological maturity, mején is tolerant to flooding. To estimate the potential area where marceño may be implemented, we characterized and defined the areas where it is practiced, using geographic information systems (GIS), and determined the bioclimatic variables of the sites where 16 species of wild plants associated with the management of the marceño grow. We also analysed areas of agriculture and livestock in relation to the cyclical floods. This information was used to generate a probability model of marceño occurrence through MaxEnt, which was superimposed on an elevation model (LiDAR) geoprocessed with GIS. The marceño was observed in 203 localities across eight municipalities of Tabasco (~2% of the state area), at elevations of 1–7 m. The calculated area with potential for implementation of the marceño is about 18.4% of the state area. The implementation of this agroecosystem on a wider area might be an alternative for local agriculture development and a strategy for ecological conservation and restoration of wetlands.
Keywords: mején maize; Maya Chontal; Thalia geniculate; biocultural landscape; agroecosystem; wetland