Mesoamerica is a historical region in North America covering central Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua and northern Costa Rica. Here, pre-Colombian communities flourished for thousand years before the Spanish invasion. It is one of the five areas in the world where ancient civilization rose independently.
Mesoamerica is where several important crops like maize, beans, squash, chili peppers and vanilla originated. In this region, some 224 plants closely related to these key crops are the brink of extinction. This is because of the expanding agriculture, shift from traditional to mechanical cultivation and the use of pesticides and insecticides.