Santa Fe Institute

Lessons from the Mayans on societal stability

Nov. 16, 2012 1:41 p.m.

Discovery News describes the complex-systems view taken by SFI President Jerry Sabloff and collaborator B.L. Turner in a recent paper on how drought contributed to the "demise" of the classic Maya civilization.

"Their take ... is that while climate was important, it was not the only factor," writes Discovery News contributor Larry O'Hanlon.

The paper "wove together a complex, data-rich history of Classic Maya agricultural practices and the demands on ecosystem services that stressed the environment and made it vulnerable for trouble when one particular drought hit," writes O'Hanlon.

Read the paper in PNAS (August 20, 2012, subscription required for full paper)

Read the article in Discovery News (November 15, 2012)

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