Climate change and cultural resilience in late pre-Columbian Amazonia

de Souza, Jonas, Robinson, Mark, Maezumi, S. Yoshi, Capriles, José, Hoggarth, Julie, Lombardo, Umberto, Novello, Valdir, Apaéstegui, James, Whitney, Bronwen, Urrego, Dunia, Travassos Alves, Daiana, Rostain, Stephen, Power, Mitchell, Mayle, Francis, da Cruz, Francisco, Hooghiemstra, Henry and Iriarte, José (2019) Climate change and cultural resilience in late pre-Columbian Amazonia. Nature Ecology & Evolution, 3 (7). pp. 1007-1017. ISSN 2397-334X

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41559-019-0924-0

Abstract

The long-term response of ancient societies to climate change has been a matter of global debate. Until recently, the lack of integrative studies using archaeological, palaeoecological and palaeoclimatological data prevented an evaluation of the relationship between climate change, distinct subsistence strategies and cultural transformations across the largest rainforest of the world, Amazonia. Here we review the most relevant cultural changes seen in the archaeological record of six different regions within Greater Amazonia during late pre-Columbian times. We compare the chronology of those cultural transitions with high-resolution regional palaeoclimate proxies, showing that, while some societies faced major reorganization during periods of climate change, others were unaffected and even flourished. We propose that societies with intensive, specialized land-use systems were vulnerable to transient climate change. In contrast, land-use systems that relied primarily on polyculture agroforestry, resulting in the formation of enriched forests and fertile Amazonian dark earth in the long term, were more resilient to climate change.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: F800 Physical and Terrestrial Geographical and Environmental Sciences
Department: Faculties > Engineering and Environment > Geography and Environmental Sciences
Depositing User: Becky Skoyles
Date Deposited: 11 Jun 2019 14:06
Last Modified: 11 Oct 2019 09:36
URI: http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/39648

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