Economic Botany

, Volume 51, Issue 2, pp 158–183

An Ethnobotanical analysis of the tree species common to the subtropical moist forests of the petén, Guatemala

  • Patrice A. Mutchnick
  • Brian C. Mccarthy

DOI: 10.1007/BF02893110

Cite this article as:
Mutchnick, P.A. & Mccarthy, B.C. Econ Bot (1997) 51: 158. doi:10.1007/BF02893110


The purpose of this study was to analyze the utilization of tree species within and around the borders of the Maya Biosphere Reserve in Guatemala and to compare two sampling methodologies for the acquisition of such data. Residents in the communities of Caoba (border of reserve) and Uaxactún (within reserve) demonstrated significantly different utilization of tree species. Differences were due to the unique ecological and socio-economic conditions in each of the towns. Residents of both communities relied most heavily onSwietenia macrophylla, Manilkara achras. Cedrela odorata, Pouteria mammosa and Caesalpinia spp. Residents of Caoba considered 39% of all useful tree species to be marketable compared with only 18% in Uaxactún. Overall, more than 80 tree species were identified as useful in each of the communities. Changes in forest composition along with dynamic economic conditions were found to be altering the commercial utilization of tree species throughout the region. Some suggestions are offered for community development projects.

Key Words

ethnobotanyGuatemalamedicinal plantsmethodologytimber

Copyright information

© The New York Botanical Garden 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • Patrice A. Mutchnick
    • 1
  • Brian C. Mccarthy
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Environmental and Plant BiologyOhio UniversityAthensUSA