Advertisement

New Forests

, Volume 27, Issue 1, pp 25–38 | Cite as

The propagation of Ramón (Brosimum alicastrum Sw.; Moraceae) in Mayan homegardens of the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico

  • A.R. Gillespie
  • D.M. Bocanegra-Ferguson
  • J.J. Jimenez-Osornio
Article

Abstract

In the Yucatan peninsula of Mexico, Maya natives have been propagating important species for centuries. However, little documentation exists of these methods, and traditional knowledge is fading as younger generations seek work in urban centers. With growing interest in using some of these species for plantation-scale production, this knowledge should be captured to aid in propagation and cultural methods of selected species. One such species, Ramón (Brosimum alicastrum Sw.), is grown in Mayan homegardens primarily as a source of dry season forage. We conducted a survey of Mayan families in several municipalities to determine basic propagation habits and procedures for cultivating Ramón, and used this information to conduct some controlled-environment studies of reproductive ecology of the species. Our survey showed that all or most Maya grow the Ramón tree in homegardens for forage and that the tree is both cultivated from wild seedlings as well as planted on a small scale. Propagation is by seed and young seedlings are irrigated until they are established. We examined the effects of temperature on seed germination and found that maximum germination occurred between 27° and 38 °C, with best germination and growth of healthy seedlings at 33 °C. No germination occurred below 21° or above 44 °C. Simulated Maya irrigation gave a four-fold increase in growth rate of seedlings, aiding early establishment. Watering gave seedlings of greater biomass, greater stem and root length, and greater numbers and size of leaves. This magnitude of response may provide an economic return for plantation culture of Ramón for forage production.

Agroforestry Forage production Indigenous knowledge Plantation establishment Seed germination 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Ayala A. and Sandoval S.M. 1995. Establecimiento y producción temprana de forraje de Ramón (Brosimum alicastrum, Sw.) en plantaciones a altas densidades en el norte de Yucatán, México. Agroforestería de las Américas 2: 10–16.Google Scholar
  2. Benjamin T.J., Montañez P.I., Jimenez Osornio J.J. and Gillespie A.R. 2001. Carbon, water, and nutrient flux in Maya homogardens in the Yucatán peninsula of México. Agroforestry Systems 53: 103–111.Google Scholar
  3. Blain D. and Kellman M. 1991. The effect of water supply on tree seed germination and seedling survival in a tropical seasonal forest in Veracruz, Mexico. Journal of Tropical Ecology 7: 69–83.Google Scholar
  4. Chavelas Polito J. and Devall M.S. 1988. Brosimum alicastrum Sw. In: Burns R.M. and Mosquera M. (eds), Useful Trees of Tropical North America. North American Forestry Commission, Washington, D.C. 10 p., Publication No.3.Google Scholar
  5. De Clerck F.A.J. and Negreros-Castillio P. 2000. Plant species of traditional Mayan homegardens of Mexico as analogs for multistrata agroforests. Agroforestry Systems 48: 303–317.Google Scholar
  6. Dunning N.P. 1992. Lords of the Hills: Ancient Maya Settlement in the Puuc Region, Yucatán, Mexico. Monographs in World Archaeology No. 15. Prehistory Press, Madison, WI, 303 p.Google Scholar
  7. Gillespie A.R., Knudson D.M. and Geilfus F. 1993. The structure of four homegardens in the Petén, Guatemala. Agroforestry Systems 24: 157–170.Google Scholar
  8. González J.E. and Quirós H.G. 1993. Germinación de semillas de doce especies arboreas del bosque trópical húmedo. Brenesia 39–40: 119–124.Google Scholar
  9. Lambert J.D.H. and Arnason J.T. 1982. Ramón and Maya ruins: An ecological, not an economic, relation. Science 216: 298–299.Google Scholar
  10. Lezama Conrado P. and Morfin Francisco C. 1992. Velocidad de germinación de veintiún especies forestales tropicales. Revista Ciencia Forestal en México 17: 3–26.Google Scholar
  11. Levasseur V. and Olivier A. 2000. The farming system and traditional agroforestry systems in the Maya community of San Jose, Belize. Agroforestry Systems 49: 275–288.Google Scholar
  12. Lopez-Mata L. 1987. Genecological differentiation in provenances of Brosimum alicastrum: A tree of moist tropical forests. Forest Ecology and Management 21: 197–208.Google Scholar
  13. Lundell C.L. 1938. Plants probably utilized by the old empire Maya of Petén and adjacent lowlands. Papers of the Michigan Academy of Science 24: 37–56.Google Scholar
  14. Miksicek C.H., Elsesser K.J., Wuebber I.A., Bruhns K.O. and Hammond N. 1981. Rethinking Ramon: A comment on Reina and Hill's Lowland Maya Subsistence. American Antiquity 46: 916–919.Google Scholar
  15. Montañez Escalante P.I. 1998. Producción de hojarasca y aporte de nutrimentos en los huertos familiares de Hocabá y Sahcabá, Yucatán, México, M.S., Universidad Autónoma de Yucatán, Mérida, Yucatán, México 110 p.Google Scholar
  16. Morikawa R.T., Gold M.A. and Lantagne D.O. 1994. Effects of timing of seed collection and method of establishment onBrosimum alicastrum Sw. reproduction. International Tree Crops Journal 8: 49–59.Google Scholar
  17. Morrison B.J., Gold M.A. and Lantagne D.O. 1996. Incorporating indigenous knowledge of fodder trees into small-scale silvopastoral systems in Jamaica. Agroforestry Systems 34: 101–117.Google Scholar
  18. Pardo-Tejeda E. and Sánchez-Muñoz C. 1980. Ramón, Capomo, Ojite, Ojoche, Brosimum alicastrum, Recurso Silvestre Tropical Desaprovechado. Instituto Nacional de Investigaciones sobre Recursos Bióticos, Xalapa, Veracruz, México, 29 p.Google Scholar
  19. Parker J. 1968. Drought-resistance mechanisms. In: Kozlowski T.T. (ed.), Water Deficits and Plant Growth. Academic Press, New York, NY, pp. 195–234.Google Scholar
  20. Patton M.Q. 1990. Qualitative Evaluation and Research Methods. 2nd edn. Sage Publications, Newbury Park, CA.Google Scholar
  21. Pérez R.J.D., Zapata B.G.J. and Sosa R.E.E. 1995. Utilización del Ramón (Brosimum alicastrum Sw.) como forraje en la alimentación de ovinos en crecimiento. Agroforestería en las Américas 2: 17–21.Google Scholar
  22. Peters C.M. 1983. Observations on Maya subsistence and the ecology of a tropical tree. American Antiquity 48: 610–615.Google Scholar
  23. Peters C.M. and Pardo-Tejeda E. 1982. Brosimum alicastrum (Moraceae): Uses and potential in Mexico. Economic Botany 36: 166–175.Google Scholar
  24. Puleston D.E. 1982. The role of Ramón in Maya subsistence. In: Flannery K.V. (ed.), Maya Subsistence: Studies in memory of Dennis E. Puleston. Academic Press, New York, NY, pp. 353–366.Google Scholar
  25. Santos Ricalde R.H. and Abreu Sierra J.E. 1995. Evaluación nutricia de la Leucaena leucocephala y del Brosimum alicastrum y su empleo en alimentación de cerdos. Veterinaria México. 26: 51–57.Google Scholar
  26. Standley P.C. 1922. Trees and shrubs of Mexico. Contribution of the US National Herbarium 23: 171–515.Google Scholar
  27. Tozzer A.M. 1941. Landa's Relacion de las Cosas de Yucatan — A Translation. Papers of the Peabody Museum of American Archaeology and Ethnology. Harvard University, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  28. Vargas Riveros C. 1983. El Ka'anche, una práctica hortícola Maya. Biótica. 8: 151–174.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Kluwer Academic Publishers 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • A.R. Gillespie
    • 1
  • D.M. Bocanegra-Ferguson
    • 1
  • J.J. Jimenez-Osornio
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Forestry and Natural ResourcesPurdue UniversityWest LafayetteUSA
  2. 2.Department of Management and Conservation of Tropical Natural Resources, PROTROPICO, Faculty of Veterinary Medicine and ZoologyUniversity of YucatanMeridaMexico

Personalised recommendations