El Pilar Landscape

The ancient Maya evolved a sustainable economy in the tropics of Mesoamerica. Today, these forests shroud the early Maya cities and would preserve them for posterity, were it not for the illegal looting, the advancing agricultural clearing, and even the trampling of tourism.

At El Pilar, we are breaking with tradition by pioneering a conservation model, "Archaeology Under the Canopy" that draws on lessons learned from the recent and distant past. The El Pilar conservation model is destined to revise Maya history, recover vanishing farming traditions, and exhibit an authentic window into the Maya civilization.

Government protection, community participation, and a holistic cultural-ecological science are the building blocks of the unique cooperative team effort evolving around El Pilar to make a replicable design for the Maya forest that has application for comparable examples worldwide. We are in a critical juncture in the development of the shared vision for El Pilar. We now have the unique opportunity to firmly establish the El Pilar model to enhance the Maya forest and transform our knowledge of the cultural heritage for the region to apply beyond.sites to further this understanding of the environment.