The Lacandon Maya people - of which the last few hundred survivors live in Chiapas, Mexico - preserve a land management practice that permits rapid recovery of forest following agricultural use on a small scale. In other words, the time of fallows is shortened thanks to the use of a fast-growing native tree called Chujum (Ochroma pyramidale, Bombacaceae; Balsa, in English) with great commercial value. Thanks to its abundant and rapidly decomposing foliage, the Chujum can help enrich soils depleted of nutrients and organic matter following unsustainable agriculture and livestock management practices. It can also be very useful in the rehabilitation of degraded zones, dominated by the Bracken fern, Pteridium aquilinum (Petatillas, in Spanish) following a long history of intensive use and intentional fires. (Complete story is in Spanish).
One year-old Ochroma pyramidale in the experimental plot dominated by Bracken fern (Pteridium aquilinum), in Lacanhá Chansayab, Chiapas, Mexico.