More than Maize, Bananas, and Coffee: The Inter– and Intraspecific Diversity of Edible Plants of the Huastec Mayan Landscape Mosaics in Mexico1 Article uri icon


  • More than Maize, Bananas, and Coffee: The Inter– and Intraspecific Edible Plant Diversity in Huastec Mayan Landscape Mosaics in Mexico. Global emergencies such as biodiversity loss and climate crisis urge us to identify and mainstream crop genetic resources in complex indigenous farming systems to understand their role as genetic reservoirs and identify synergies in productive landscapes between development, conservation, and food security. We aimed to characterize the inter– and intraspecific diversity of food plants of the Tének (or Huastec) in Mexico and their distribution within and between the different land–use systems along a tropical altitudinal gradient. Tének farmers manage a highly diverse and dynamic food biota in swidden maize fields, agroforestry systems, and home gardens. Even with a small sample size, our study provides a complete analysis of the food crop diversity in the research area. The Tének cultivate a high number of 347 registered species and variants, most of them at medium altitude. Intraspecific diversity dominates (69%25). All land–use systems of the agroecosystem complex serve as a specific pool for plant genetic resources, and there is a low similarity between and within systems and localities, especially at the intraspecific level. The proportion of rare and unique food plants is high. We recommend an agroecosystem approach and prioritization for conservation as well as other efforts related to the in situ crop genetic capital. © 2021, The New York Botanical Garden.

publication date

  • 2021-01-01