John Tuxill

Associate Professor


Biography An ethnobotanist by training, my academic interests center on understanding how people value, utilize and manage plants and the natural world.  I am particularly interested in how ethnobotanical and ethnoecological knowledge can help contribute to ecologically and socially sustainable ways of producing food, fiber, and other material resources, while also conserving biological diversity.  My field research (ongoing since 2001) has centered on the management of agricultural biodiversity by contemporary Yucatec Maya farmers in central Yucatan state, Mexico.  I also have incipient regional research interests in western Amazonia and the Ecuadorian Andes, southwest China, and my home base in the Pacific Northwest.  I have a PhD in Environmental Studies from Yale University and the New York Botanical Garden (2005) and an M.S. in Conservation Biology and Sustainable Development from the University of Wisconsin-Madison (1995).  Before coming to WWU, I wrote extensively on biodiversity conservation for the Worldwatch Institute, and lived for two years in Panama, and one year on the Caribbean island of Dominica.  I speak Spanish and Yucatec Maya, and a bit of French, Portuguese, and Italian.  When not at work, I enjoy gardening, fly-fishing, birding, and backcountry skiing.    Interest Areas Ethnobotany and Ethnoecology; Biodiversity Studies; Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems; Conservation Biology; Ecological Restoration; Mesoamerica   Selected Publications Tuxill, J., L. Arias Reyes, L. Latournerie Moreno, V. Cob Uicab, and D.I. Jarvis.  In press.  All maize is not equal: maize variety choices and Mayan foodways in contemporary rural Yucatan, Mexico.  In J. Staller and M.D. Carrasco, eds.  Pre-Columbian Foodways: Interdisciplinary Approaches to Food, Culture, and Markets in Mesoamerica.  Springer, Tuxill, J.  2004.  Effects of a regional drought on local management of seed stocks of maize, beans and squash in central Yucatan state, Mexico: preliminary findings.  Pp. 141-149 in J.L. Chavez-Servia, J. Tuxill and D.I. Jarvis, eds.  Manejo de la Diversidad de los Cultivos en los Agroecosistemas Tradicionales.  Instituto Internacional de Recursos Fitogenéticos, Cali, Colombia.   Tuxill, J. and G.P. Nabhan.  2001.  People, Plants, and Protected Areas: A Guide to In Situ Management.  Earthscan Publications Ltd., London.