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Rob Kailey is a working schmuck with no ties or affiliations to any governmental or political organizations, save those of sympathy.

Time for some "sacred groves"

by: Jay Stevens

Fri Jul 31, 2009 at 14:31:35 PM MST


Turns out the Mayan civilization practiced a form of forest conservation - until they abandoned the years-old practice in a building frenzy...which may have led to their downfall:

So what led to the downfall of the Maya? Whether it was the gods' displeasure or not, the answer came from the heavens.
"When you clear all the forests, it changes the hydrologic cycle," says Lentz. "The world is like a flat surface with all the trees acting as sponges on it. The trees absorb the water. Without the trees, there is no buffer to stop the water from runoff. That causes soil erosion, which then chokes the rivers and streams. With no trees, you lose water retention in the soil or aquifers so the ground dries up and then there is less transpiration, so therefore less rainfall as well."

In addition to using the trees as timber, the Maya also burned the trees, adding carbon to the air in the form of carbon dioxide. Trees remove carbon dioxide from the air and return oxygen in its place, thus cleaning and purifying the air.

"Forests provide many benefits to society," says Lentz. "The Maya forests provided timber, fuel, food, fiber and medicine in addition to the ecosystem services of cleansing the air and water. Just as forests provided essential resources for the ancient Maya, the same is true for our civilization today."

(H/T Metafilter.)

Jay Stevens :: Time for some "sacred groves"
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