Cultivated Landscapes of Middle America on the Eve of Conquest
The human-environment conditions in the Americas on the eve of the sixteenth-century European conquest have of late attracted growing interest in both academic and public circles. Focusing on Middle America, this book completes a trilogy which has made the most comprehensive survey ever achieved of pre-Colombian agriculture and culture throughout the continents. It addresses the question of what lands were permanently occupied; how they were used; and what the environmental and social implications of this use were. The answers to these questions are central to such wide-ranging themes as indigenous land rights, the conservation and preservation 'ethic' of these native people, and the global carbon cycle. The kind, scale, and location of land use is documented and mapped in detail. The book not only demonstrates the sophistication of the agricultural landscapes and their local integration, but also investigates the omissions and land degradation of the native agriculturalists. Drawing on this wealth of data the authors make a stimulating contribution to the debate about resource, land, and population in the Americas.
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