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By William J. Folan


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It is sufficiently laterized to be grouped with the Terra Rossa soils. The ek-lum (black earth) series consists of a clay topsoil varying from gray to black in color, overlaying yellow clay washed with grayblack clay. The series probably belongs to the yellow podsolic group in association with intrazonal Planosol or Half-Bog soils (Stevens 1964:303). Ortiz (1950:285-286) states that these soil families and series were generally so rich that little or no fertilizer was necessary except for the addition of phosphorous in one sample of the family kankab-tzekel, manganese in the chichen-kankab series, with potassium being the nutrient element critically deficient in most of the soils of Yucatan.

Hydrography of the Southern Yucatan Peninsula The southern section of the peninsula is also characterized by subsurface drainage. It is noted for its lakes and swamps, disappearing streams, and sluggish (often intermittent) headwaters of rivers that drain either to the Gulf of Mexico or to the Caribbean Sea. Another hydrographie feature, the akalche, is common in the Peten and in eastern Yucatan. These low, wooded, clay-filled depressions are covered with a thin sheet of water only during the rainy period.

10). Another striking characteristic common to all tropical forests, and seldom found outside this formation, is the profusion of growth in addition to the large trees. In every instance, palms form a substantial part of the understory; sometimes, the palm-like Carludovica is present as well. In some stands of palm, the distinctive cycad Zamia (a cross in appearance between a palm and a fern), appears. Ficus and Coussapoa (strangler figs) are among the common smaller trees. The middle layers of trees usually contain the fast-growing Cecropia and Didymopanax, and the giant leaves of Calathea, Heliconia, and Costus.

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