There is a need for a base map of the vegetation of El Eden that could serve as the central information base for all the projects. This project should develop a GIS that may include photos and images such as:

a) Satellite images 1983

b) Aerial photographs 1:20 000 (1985)

c) Photointerpretation June

d) Initial land survey June-July.

An initial land and vegetation survey (of terrestrial and acuatic ecosystems) should be done as soon as possible. This survey should be able to identify keystone species for different ecosystems.

Other needs:

  • Permanent plots for precise monitoring of important species.

  • In depth studies of the vegetation response to disturbance. Studies on succession and seed banks should be encouraged.

  • Precise monitoring of the changes in the water levels through time is a high priority.

  • Some "temporary" transects to learn more about the variation of vegetation through soil, humidity and disturbance gradients. This studies should include:

    -species (canopy density & cover)



    -strata, layers

    -basal area


  • Topographic and vegetation profiles that include soil, vegetation and archaeological features. These profiles could be done in the permanent transects and trails.

  • A soil survey and soil map. The soil nomenclature used by the local Maya could be used for the classification.

  • A management plan for El Eden is a high priority issue that needs to be done as soon as possible. This plan should encourage the participation of all users of El Eden facilities. The map should include a precise zoning of areas used for research, education, untouched areas, residences, laboratories, agroecological work etc. and those left alone.

  • Expanded living facilities to accommodate groups of students as well as researchers. These facilities should be built to have a minimal impact on the environment.

  • Funding to build these facilities may be available from NSF and other foundations interested in field research.

  • Well-marked loop trails with descriptions for ecotourists and students.

  • A network of shelters at El Eden for practical use by many researchers.