Holocene fire and occupation in Amazonia: records from two lake districts

Bush, Mark B.; Silman, Miles R.; de Toledo, Mauro B.; Listopad, Claudio; Gosling, William D.; Williams, Christopher; de Oliveira, Paula E. and Krisel, Carolyn (2007). Holocene fire and occupation in Amazonia: records from two lake districts. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 362(1478) pp. 209–218.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1098/rstb.2006.1980


While large-scale pre-Columbian human occupation and ecological disturbance have been demonstrated close to major Amazonian waterways, less is known of sites in terra firme settings. Palaeoecological analyses of two lake districts in central and western Amazonia reveal long histories of occupation and land use. At both locations, human activity was centred on one of the lakes, while the
others were either lightly used or unused. These analyses indicate that the scale of human impacts in these terra firme settings is localized and probably strongly nfluenced by the presence of a permanent open-water body. Evidence is found of forest clearance and cultivation of maize and manioc. These data are directly relevant to the resilience of Amazonian conservation, as they do not upport the contention that all of Amazonia is a ‘built landscape’ and therefore a product of past human land use.

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