EurekaMag
+ Translate
+ Most Popular
Cranial nerves of Labeo rohita (Ham.)
Cytogenetic analysis of ZZWW triploid silkworm (Bombyx mori)
Effectiveness of posterior crossbite correction during the mixed dentition
Classification of liver cirrhosis based on parenchymal echo patterns and its clinical usefulness for diagnosis of liver cirrhosis
The identity of the lipstick mold of cultivated mushrooms agaricus bisporus
Inhibition of haemolytic activity of snake and scorpion venom by date extract
Effectiveness of iron amino acid chelate on the treatment of iron deficiency anemia in adolescents
Furunculosis and pseudofurunculosis
Some Biological Applications of Organometallic Compounds
Stassanisation of Milk
Pulse rate, respiration, and body temperature of Philippine carabaos
Sports fans: measuring degree of identification with their team
Enterobacter amnigenus. An unusual human pathogen
Vitamin B12 deficiency as a worldwide problem
Therapy for acne with saccharomyces boulardii
Comparison of rice bran and maize bran as feeds for growing and fattening pigs
The Difil Test kit for detection of canine heartworm microfilariae
Gafner Mini-skidder
Vegetable protein for combating protein malnutrition in developing countries
Comparative morphology of fish olfactory epithelium part 6 siluriformes
Mycotechnology: the role of fungi in biotechnology
On the nature and role of vivotoxins in plant disease
A study on compatibility of some insecticides with a fungicide on small cardamom (Elettaria cardamomum Maton.)
Evidence for Late Cretaceous N-S dextral shear in the west-central crystalline core, North Cascades, Washington
Advantages and disadvantages of bordeaux mixture and of lime-sulphur used on apples in the growing season

How pristine are tropical forests? An ecological perspective on the pre-Columbian human footprint in Amazonia and implications for contemporary conservation


How pristine are tropical forests? An ecological perspective on the pre-Columbian human footprint in Amazonia and implications for contemporary conservation



Biological Conservation 151(1): 0



ISSN/ISBN: 0006-3207

DOI: 10.1016/j.biocon.2011.10.013

Archeologists, paleoecologists and anthropologists argue that ecologists need to give greater consideration to the pre-historical influence of humans in shaping the current structure and composition of tropical forests. We examine these arguments within the context of Amazonia, and assess the extent to which (i) the concepts of pristine forests and cultural parklands are mutually exclusive, (ii) the aggregated distribution of some plants necessarily indicates enrichment planting, (iii) pre-Columbian human disturbance has increased forest biodiversity, (iv) pre-Columbian indigenous practices were always sustainable, and (v) if indeed, the ecological impacts of pre-Columbian peoples are relevant for modern biodiversity conservation. Overall, we reject the notion that the pristine myth has been thoroughly debunked by archeological evidence, and suggest that the environmental impacts of historical peoples occurred along gradients, with high-impacts in settlements and patches of Amazonian Dark Earth (ADE), lesser impacts where occasional enrichment planting took place in forests surrounding agricultural plots, and a very low influence (in terms of light hunting pressure and other types of resource extraction) across vast areas of Amazonia that may always have been far from permanent settlements and navigable rivers. We suggest that the spatial distribution of pre-Columbian finds is given more attention, and urge caution before case studies are extrapolated to the entire Basin. Above all, we feel that debates over naturalness and environmental impacts of pre-Columbian humans are of limited relevance to present and future biodiversity conservation, and can detract from the major challenges facing Amazonia and other tropical forest regions today.The influence of pre-Columbian peoples on Amazonia is hotly contested. We provide an ecological perspective, suggesting the impact occurred along gradients. Pre-Columbian peoples greatest impact likely occurred in small areas, such as settlements. Resource extraction likely had a very low influence across larger areas of Amazonia. However, this debate is of limited relevance for present-day conservation strategies..

Please choose payment method:






(PDF emailed within 0-6 h: $19.90)

Accession: 036274516

Download citation: RISBibTeXText

Related references

Population studies of trees in fragmented forests and the implications for in situ conservation in the tropical forest of central Amazonia. IPEF, Instituto de Pesquisas e Estudos Florestais 35: 47-59, 1987

Theme II: Tropical forests: structure, diversity and function - part A. Ecological and bio-geographical contrasts among tropical rainforests with conservation implications. Tropical ecosystems: structure, diversity and human welfare Proceedings of the International Conference on Tropical Ecosystems: Structure, Diversity and Human Welfare, Banglore, India, 15-18 July 2001: 357-391, 2001

Ecological responses to el Niño-induced surface fires in central Brazilian Amazonia: management implications for flammable tropical forests. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B Biological Sciences 359(1443): 367-380, 2004

Forests to fields: restoring tropical lands to agriculture; Forests or fields? A response to the theory that tropical forest conservation poses a threat to the poor; Forests or fields: a land allocation perspective. Land Use Policy 10(2): 91-107; 108-121; 122-126, 1993

Oligarchic forests of economic plants in amazonia: utilization and conservation of an important tropical resource. Conservation Biology: the Journal of the Society for Conservation Biology 3(4): 341-349, 1989

Conservation and protection of tropical rain forests: the perspective of the World Conservation Union. Unasylva 42(166): 40-45, 1991

Bamboo-dominated forests and pre-Columbian earthwork formations in south-western Amazonia. Journal of Biogeography 41(9): 1733-1745, 2014

Analysis of biological and meteorological controls of evapotranspiration in pristine forests and a pasture site in Amazonia. Revista Ambiente & Água 12(2): 179-191, 2017

Conservation of rare trees in tropical rain forests: a genetic perspective. Genetics and conservation of rare plants: 62-71, 1991

Impact of game hunting by the Kayapo of south-eastern Amazonia: implications for wildlife conservation in tropical forest indigenous reserves. Biodiversity and Conservation 15(8): 2627-2653, 2006

From pristine forests to high-altitude pastures: an ecological approach to prehistoric human impact on vegetation and landscapes in the western Italian Alps. Journal of Ecology 105(6): 1580-1597, 2017

Ecological implications of anti-pathogen effects of tropical fungal endophytes and mycorrhizae : Ecology of fungal symbioses in tropical forests. Ecology (Durham) 88(3): 550-558, 2007

Assessing national human footprint and implications for biodiversity conservation in Iran. Ambio 49(9): 1506-1518, 2020

Underpricing and overexploitation of tropical forests: forest pricing in the management, conservation, and preservation of tropical forests. Journal of Sustainable Forestry 4(1/2): 75-97, 1997

Fragmentation of the temperate and tropical forests in Mexico: implications for their conservation and sustainable management. International Conference on Sustainable Planning and Development (04 ; 2009) v 120: 511-517, 2009