Good The Comparison Of Itza, Qeqchi, Ladinos Understanding And The Use Of Local Environment Essay Example

Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Food, Environment, Ecology, Diversity, Species, Community, Canopy, Farming

Pages: 4

Words: 1100

Published: 2020/11/24


Anthropologist seeks to understand if the differences across ethnic groups are either because of variation in their culture or the environment. Migration has contributed to changes in the socio-economic activities and relationship with nature by ethnic groups. People end up adapting to new environments and cultures leading to differences in behaviors. San Jose is one of the areas of the World under the effect of the changes in people’s behavior. The Itza, Qeqch and Ladinos ethnic groups reside in San Jose have different cultures and backgrounds. Itza as the indigenous Maya ethnic group and Qeqchi, which is also a Maya ethnic group but migrated recently to the area, and lastly the Ladinos comprises of the Spanish and Amerindians recent immigrants to San Jose. The paper compares the culture and ecological perceptions of the Itza, Qeqch and Ladinos in the San Jose lowland forest environment.

Differences in farming systems

The three ethnic groups vary in the level of causing destruction when carrying out farming activities. Damage in terms of the fallow period, level of clearing the canopy and efficiency in land use is different in the three ethnic groups. Itza is the less destructive group as it has the longest time of fallow of 4.7 years and the low canopy destruction of 1.6 hectares of a cultivation of 2.3 years. The level of Ladinos destruction of soil is moderate as it takes 3.6 years for the fallow period with a canopy destruction of 2.6 hectares after 2.3 years of cultivation. Qeqch is the most destructive group with the shortest fallow period of 3.3 years clearing 4.1 hectares of canopy after a one year of cultivation (Carr, 2004). The longer the fallow period and the less the canopy destruction leads to high soil regeneration and ultimately low destruction.
The farming system carried out by the Itza, Ladinos and Qeqch differs in the level of harvesting different species of food crops. The diversity of food diversity differs according to the types of crops harvested in plots per year. The Itza has high food diversity by harvesting the two types of crops per year of approximately eight different species. The more the species of a single crop harvested by a group leads to diverse food availability to the Itza. Secondly, Ladinos have moderate food diversity in comparison to the Itza and Qeqch. Ladino harvests two types of crops with approximately four species per year (Carr, 2004). Qeqch has the lesser food diversity by growing almost four different species of one crop per year. Lesser number of species of a crop grown per year leads to food diversity.
The level of canopy clearance varies across the three ethnic groups leading to a variation in the non-food tree diversity. Itza has the highest number of non-food diversity by leaving 22.5 species of trees per hectare over the canopy of 2500m2 per hectare. Itza ends up having the highest level of non-food tree species. Ladinos has the moderate degree of non-food biodiversity by leaving a canopy of 1700m2 per hectare with 20 different species of non-food tree species. Lastly, Qeqch has the lesser diversity in the number of non-food tree diversity. Qeqch leaves only 12.5 different types of non-food tree species during land clearance covering an area of 12500m2 per hectare. The lesser the number of non-food tree species left during clearance over a short canopy coverage leads to smaller non-food diversity. Conversely, higher number of non-food tree species over an extensive coverage increases the e level of non-food diversity.

Differences in perceptions

The three ethnic groups vary in level of perceiving and understanding forest ecology. The Ladinos have the highest level of plant and animal interaction within the forest ecology. Ladinos perceives a direct relationship between the plants and animals. The Itza has the second level of understanding the effect of destroying the plants to the animals. The graph for the Itza has the moderate number of bars in relation to the Ladinos and Qeqch. Lastly, Qeqch has the lowest understanding of the forest ecology (Carr, 2004). The Qeqchs, who are the recent immigrants to the areas, has little information on how cutting down plants affects animals. Itza understand the effect of plants to the animals, as they have stayed in the area for long.
The three ethnic groups use the teaching method in the transmission of ecological knowledge from the experts in the community. The groups perceive differently in choosing the source of ecological knowledge to help for an understanding of the environment. Itza selects an expert with a political influence having biodiversity knowledge and one that is from the community members. The social networks amongst the Itza are few because of a consensus in seeking an ecologically knowledgeable expert. According to Carr (2004), Itza relies on the ex-mayor who is currently the president of the biodiversity reserve, and he is the leader of one lineage in the Itza community. The Ladinos have a moderate consensus in the seeking of expert with ecological information. Ladinos uses both the political leaders and head from a different lineage in the community. Lastly, Qeqch has the fewer consensuses in seeking the experts with ecological knowledge because of the variation in the perception of ecologically knowledgeable individuals.
The social set-ups in the groups vary in relation to the formation of social organization and farming production. The social structure for the Itza and Ladinos is apparently similar but for the Qeqch it is very different. The Qeqchs farm production occurs through the formation of corporate groups. Farming practices happens corporately to allow the access of the large-scale farms to the entire community. The corporate groups formed clear the land together from one plot to another until the whole land for the community is ready for planting. The socio organizations for farming practices amongst the Qeqchs depend on one's kinship. Qeqchs ensures that the Ladinos and Itza households do not take part in their corporate farming groups (Carr, 2004). Additionally, the Qeqchs have a distinctive social practice that is different from the Ladinos and Itza by carrying out as ritual ceremonies. The Qeqchs uses the Copal resin trees during ritual ceremonies to cause a good harvest after the planting.


The Itza, Ladinos and Qeqchs differ in carrying out their farming practices in terms of destructiveness, food biodiversity and non-food biodiversity. Itza has lesser destruction to the environment with more food and non-food diversity followed by the Ladinos and then the Qeqch are the most destructive to the environment with low diversity of crops and non-food plant species. Additionally, the three groups also perceive the forest ecology, transmission of ecological knowledge and social organizations differently. The Quech have low forest ecology by having little understanding on the effects of plants to the animal with a less consensus in seeking ecological knowledge and they have a corporate social organization.. The Ladinos have a moderate understanding of the relationship between the effects plants to the animals while the Itza have a highest consensus in seeking information from ecological experts.


Carr, D. L. (2004). Ladino and Q'eqchí maya land use and land clearing in the sierra de lacandón national park, petén, guatemala. Agriculture and Human Values, 21(2-3), 171-179. Retrieved from: accountid=45049

Figure 1: Showing the level of understanding the forest ecology across the three ethnic groups, Source: Maya garden experiment
Figure 2.Showing the level of consensus in seeking expertise with ecological knowledge in the three ethnic groups. Source: Maya garden experiment

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