Monday, July 12, 2021

the world before Columbus

There have been apparently conflicting findings regarding the vegetation of Amazonia before the European conquest of the Americas. Some studies suggest a lot of the land was cultivated by the indigenous people and we're just looking at the regrowth that took hold after the population crash in the 16th century. Others find areas of land that have remained undisturbed for millennia.

As this has implications for the conservation and stewardship of the surviving rainforest, I had a closer look at these findings in the context of the multiple crises hitting the Amazon right now. The contradiction is resolved in my latest feature which is out now:

The Amazonian world before Columbus

Current Biology Volume 31, Issue 13, 12 July 2021, Pages R821-R824

Restricted access to full text and PDF download
(will become open access again one year after publication)

Magic link for free access
(first seven weeks only)

Illegal slash-and-burn land clearing combined with drought conditions are threatening large parts of the Amazon rainforest, even in protected areas. (Photo: Felipe Werneck/Ibama (CC BY-SA 2.0).)

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