West, R C. 1998. Mesoamerican
Subsistence Techniques. Pp. 77-102 in Latin American Geography: Historical-Geographical
Essays, 1941-1998, Miles E. Richardson (editor). Geoscience and Man, Baton
1. What is the difference between tierra caliente and tierra templada.
2. On what grounds was Mesoamerica designated a major center of "aboriginal plant domestication"?
3. What were the advantages of the Mesoamerican trilogy, maize, beans, squash?
4. What were the uses of agave?
5. List some of the plants regularly consumed in Mesoamerica that you consume as part of your diet.
6. What animals did they domesticate?
7. The Aztecs were omnivorous. Consider the foods that they consumed from the highland lake environments.
8. What kind of game was available to the lowland Maya?
9. What is the relationship between agricultural intensity and food production and population density?
10. Learn the details, similarities and differences of the two "general farming systems". Consider which physical environments were favorable for each. For example, what kind of farming system would you use on the steep slopes around Lake Atitlan?
11. What does West mean by "horticulture"
12. Learn the details of migratory slash and burn cultivation. Coamil and guamil are synonyms. Why was the Yucatan a favored environment for this type of farming?
13. Why could slash and burn support only a low population density? So, was it intensive or extensive farming?
14. What are some other ways that advanced systems of tillage differed from slash and burn?
15. Were advanced systems of tillage used in the highlands or lowlands? Why?
16. What was humedad farming? In which environments was it practiced?
17. In which environments was terracing used? What were the purposes of the terraces?
18. What is a tablon? Where would you find it?
19. How did irrigation increase production? What was the water source?
20. What were chinampas? Where were they used? Why there? What were the main advantages of chinampas?
21. Make sure that you understand every sentence in the conclusion.