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Vegetated field margins in Mexico: Their history, structure and function, and management

Human Ecology


We explore the history, structure and function, and management of vegetated field margins, particularly hedgerows, in Mexico since the pre-Hispanic period. We then focus on the current agricultural landscape in El Bajio, central Mexico, describing in detail the abundance, composition, and management of existing hedgerows. These vegetated field margins can be traced to the pre-Hispanic period, especially in central Mexico, where Indians planted hedgerows, living fences, and terraces, mainly to prevent erosion. After the Spanish Conquest, some of these structures disappeared, but in many cases, new plant species were incorporated into the remaining field boundaries. Today, vegetated field boundaries are adjacent to crop fields and, in some places, they form networks similar to those seen in Europe. Farmers actively manage hedgerows for a variety of useful products and in so doing provide habitat and dispersal routes for native plants and animals.

Author(s): Zuria, I; Gates, JE

Journal: Human Ecology

Year: 2006


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