Perceptions of Changing Landscape Mosaics in Southern Belize

Author(s): Rebecca Zarger; Kristina Baines

Year: 2017


What drives human uncertainty when confronting gradual change versus catastrophic, rapid change? Based on longitudinal ethnographic data that includes household behavioral observations, oral histories and structured survey interviews of land use change, and continuous participant observation data, we describe the ways farming families in southern Belize have responded to changing environments over time, within the context of a mosaic of livelihood strategies. Ethnographic interviews with community members focused on their perceptions of environmental change over their lifetimes and responses to agricultural uncertainty from drought, hurricanes, or other events. These are juxtaposed with ongoing political conflict with nation state and other actors over heritage and identity, territory, and misperceptions of land use practices since the 1980s in southern Belize. We consider the following questions in our paper: How did Maya farmers, their institutions, and the landscape itself respond to a changing environment? What does this suggest about future resilience in the face of predicted future climate changes?

Cite this Record

Perceptions of Changing Landscape Mosaics in Southern Belize. Rebecca Zarger, Kristina Baines. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 431963)

Spatial Coverage

min long: -107.271; min lat: 12.383 ; max long: -86.353; max lat: 23.08 ;

Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 17615