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.