ESP 604: Sustainability in the Land of the Maya

2010-03-01 -

Pre-trip meeting date changed.


66395 (for web registration)




Tania Schusler






Spring 2010

Meeting Schedule:

Wed 2/3 (5:00PM-7:59PM)
Wed 3/3 (5:00PM-7:59PM)
Wed 4/14 (5:00PM-7:59PM)


Competency Areas: Civic Ecology. May also count as Natural Communities with written permission of instructor.

Please Note: Attendance at ALL pre-trip meetings is mandatory. Enrolled students who fail to drop the course at least two weeks before the first pre-trip meeting or who fail to attend the first pre-trip meeting will be held financially responsible for the cost of the trip and will forfeit their seat in the course. Students on the waitlist MUST attend the first pre-trip meeting if they wish to be admitted into the course. (Note: Should a seat become available, only those students on the waitlist who have attended the first pre-trip meeting will be considered for admittance.) Student scholarships may be available depending upon enrollment; scholarship availability will be determined by the end of fall semester and information e-mailed to all enrolled students then. This Field Study Trip to Mexico?s Yucatan peninsula will examine the influence of some environmental, social, political, cultural and economic factors in the rise and fall of the ancient Maya and use this same analytical framework to evaluate current models of economic development and environmental conservation. The course will address the core questions: How does the current model of development in the Yucatan peninsula take into account, or fail to, lessons from the ancient Maya? What are the prospects for long-term sustainability? Students will explore topics including ancient Mayan agriculture, water management, culture, conflict and trade; the environmental ?background? of ancient and present-day Maya; coastal ecology, mangroves and wetlands; tropical dry forest ecology; karst geology; climate; colonialism; land tenure; protected areas management; ecological monitoring; community forestry; conservation planning; and tourism. Among other sites, we will visit the Sian Ka?an and Calakmul Biosphere Reserves, Mayan ruins (e.g., Tulzm, Uxmal, Chichen Itza), and the colonial city of Mirida. We will be joined by guest lecturer Dr. Ernesto Ruelas Inzunza, a biologist and former conservation practitioner in Mexico.