Time and Complexity in Historical Ecology: Studies in the Neotropical Lowlands

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Columbia University Press, Jun 22, 2006 - Science - 432 pages
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This collection of studies by anthropologists, botanists, ecologists, and biologists is an important contribution to the emerging field of historical ecology. The book combines cutting-edge research with new perspectives to emphasize the close relationship between humans and their natural environment.

Contributors examine how alterations in the natural world mirror human cultures, societies, and languages. Treating the landscape like a text, these researchers decipher patterns and meaning in the Ecuadorian Andes, Amazonia, the desert coast of Peru, and other regions in the neotropics. They show how local peoples have changed the landscape over time to fit their needs by managing and modifying species diversity, enhancing landscape heterogeneity, and controlling ecological disturbance. In turn, the environment itself becomes a form of architecture rich with historical and archaeological significance.

Time and Complexity in Historical Ecology explores thousands of years of ecological history while also addressing important contemporary issues, such as biodiversity and genetic variation and change. Engagingly written and expertly researched, this book introduces and exemplifies a unique method for better understanding the link between humans and the biosphere.
 

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About the author (2006)

William L. Balée is professor of anthropology at Tulane University. He is the author of Footprints of the Forest: Ka'apor Ethnobotany-The Historical Ecology of Plant Utilization by an Amazonian People and the editor of Advances in Historical Ecology.

Clark L. Erickson is associate professor of anthropology at the University of Pennsylvania and associate curator of the American Section at the University of Pennsylvania Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology.


William L. Balée, is Professor of Anthropology at Tulane University. He is the editor of Advances in Historical Ecology (1998) and the author of Footprints of the Forest: Ka'apor Ethnobotany - The Historical Ecology of Plant Utilization by an Amazonian People (1994).

Clark L. Erickson is an Associate Professor of Anthropology and Associate Curator of the University Museum at the University of Pennsylvania. He is writing a book for Cambridge University Press titled Waru, Waru: Ancient Andean Agriculture.

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