Climate change and cultural resilience in late pre-Columbian Amazonia

Jonas Gregorio de Souza, Mark Robinson, S. Yoshi Maezumi, Jose Mariano Capriles Flores, Julie A. Hoggarth, Umberto Lombardo, Valdir Felipe Novello, James Apaéstegui, Bronwen Whitney, Dunia Urrego, Daiana Travassos Alves, Stephen Rostain, Mitchell J. Power, Francis E. Mayle, Francisco William da Cruz, Henry Hooghiemstra, José Iriarte

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalNature Ecology and Evolution
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019

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Amazonia
climate change
land use
polyculture
cultural change
agroforestry
subsistence
paleoclimate
rainforest
rain forests
chronology
society

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology

Cite this

de Souza, Jonas Gregorio ; Robinson, Mark ; Maezumi, S. Yoshi ; Capriles Flores, Jose Mariano ; Hoggarth, Julie A. ; Lombardo, Umberto ; Novello, Valdir Felipe ; Apaéstegui, James ; Whitney, Bronwen ; Urrego, Dunia ; Alves, Daiana Travassos ; Rostain, Stephen ; Power, Mitchell J. ; Mayle, Francis E. ; da Cruz, Francisco William ; Hooghiemstra, Henry ; Iriarte, José. / Climate change and cultural resilience in late pre-Columbian Amazonia. In: Nature Ecology and Evolution. 2019.
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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.",
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de Souza, JG, Robinson, M, Maezumi, SY, Capriles Flores, JM, Hoggarth, JA, Lombardo, U, Novello, VF, Apaéstegui, J, Whitney, B, Urrego, D, Alves, DT, Rostain, S, Power, MJ, Mayle, FE, da Cruz, FW, Hooghiemstra, H & Iriarte, J 2019, 'Climate change and cultural resilience in late pre-Columbian Amazonia', Nature Ecology and Evolution. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41559-019-0924-0

Climate change and cultural resilience in late pre-Columbian Amazonia. / de Souza, Jonas Gregorio; Robinson, Mark; Maezumi, S. Yoshi; Capriles Flores, Jose Mariano; Hoggarth, Julie A.; Lombardo, Umberto; Novello, Valdir Felipe; Apaéstegui, James; Whitney, Bronwen; Urrego, Dunia; Alves, Daiana Travassos; Rostain, Stephen; Power, Mitchell J.; Mayle, Francis E.; da Cruz, Francisco William; Hooghiemstra, Henry; Iriarte, José.

In: Nature Ecology and Evolution, 01.01.2019.

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

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AU - de Souza, Jonas Gregorio

AU - Robinson, Mark

AU - Maezumi, S. Yoshi

AU - Capriles Flores, Jose Mariano

AU - Hoggarth, Julie A.

AU - Lombardo, Umberto

AU - Novello, Valdir Felipe

AU - Apaéstegui, James

AU - Whitney, Bronwen

AU - Urrego, Dunia

AU - Alves, Daiana Travassos

AU - Rostain, Stephen

AU - Power, Mitchell J.

AU - Mayle, Francis E.

AU - da Cruz, Francisco William

AU - Hooghiemstra, Henry

AU - Iriarte, José

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N2 - 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.

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