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Imperfect Balance: Landscape Transformations in the Pre-Columbian Americas
     

Imperfect Balance: Landscape Transformations in the Pre-Columbian Americas

by David L. Lentz (Editor), David Lentz (Editor), David Lentz (Editor)
 

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We often envision the New World before the arrival of the Europeans as a land of pristine natural beauty and undisturbed environments. However, David Lentz offers an alternative view by detailing the impact of native cultures on these ecosystems prior to their contact with Europeans. Drawing on a wide range of experts from the fields of paleoclimatology, historical

Overview

We often envision the New World before the arrival of the Europeans as a land of pristine natural beauty and undisturbed environments. However, David Lentz offers an alternative view by detailing the impact of native cultures on these ecosystems prior to their contact with Europeans. Drawing on a wide range of experts from the fields of paleoclimatology, historical ecology, paleontology, botany, geology, conservation science, and resource management, this book unlocks the secret of how the Western Hemisphere's indigenous inhabitants influenced and transformed their natural environment.

A rare combination of collaborators uncovers the changes that took place in North America, Mexico, Central America, the Andes, and Amazonia. Each section of the book has been comprehensively arranged so that a botanical description of the natural vegetation of the region is coupled with a set of case studies outlining local human influences. From modifications of vegetation, to changes in soil, wildlife, microclimate, hydrology, and the land surface itself, this collection addresses one of the great issues of our time: the human modification of the earth.

Editorial Reviews

Martin Grosjean
The combination of articles and examples in [this] book is able to draw a picture of pre-columbians as integral and influential parts and components of the landscape. The volume brings together natural scientists, archaeologists, and cultural ecologists to investigate the interaction between natural systems and human intervention. Such a combination is rarely seen in this comprehensive manner.
Booknews
Contains 15 contributions written by natural scientists, archaeologists, and cultural ecologists, primarily from the US, and a few from Mexico, examining the physical environment and human modifications upon it. There is coverage of climatic change and vegetation patterns, along with regional and local land-use studies for North America, Mexico, Central America, the Andes, and Amazonia. Environmental changes discussed include modification of vegetation, soil, wildlife, microclimate, hydrology, and the land surface itself. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780231111577
Publisher:
Columbia University Press
Publication date:
09/19/2000
Series:
Historical Ecology Series
Pages:
788
Product dimensions:
9.90(w) x 6.90(h) x 1.20(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Meet the Author

David Lentz is director of the graduate studies program at The New York Botanical Garden. He is the author or coauthor of and contributor to more than fifty scholarly articles and books.

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