The Greening of Chichen Itza

By John Mitchell

It appears that even the ancient Maya ruins at Chichen Itza are feeling the effects of global warming. The heating of the Earth’s atmosphere has reportedly changed the rain patterns and lengthened the dry season at Chichen Itza. Resulting droughts, along with lightning storms and hurricanes, have taken a heavy toll on the sprawling archaeological site’s trees and other natural vegetation.

In response to this loss of greenery, Mexico’s National Institute of Anthropology (INAH) has reforested vulnerable areas of Chichen Itza with 3000 trees indigenous to the Yucatan. Included among the species are mahogany, cedar, flamboyant, plus other trees and bushes traditionally used by the Maya for food, construction, and the making of handicrafts. An additional 1000 trees will be planted in 2010, and seeds are being conserved to eventually stock greenhouses with saplings. Grass in heavily trafficked areas of Chichen Itza is also being regenerated.

El Castillo or Pyramid of Kukulcan framed by trees, Chichen Itza, Yucatan, Mexico. Click on photo for usage info.
El Castillo or Pyramid of Kukulcan framed by trees, Chichen Itza, Yucatan, Mexico. Click on photo for usage info.

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