Anthropogenic forest use in pre-Columbian Peru

Pre-Columbian societies in northeastern Peru maintained regional forest integrity and biodiversity.

PROCEEDINGS OF THE NATIONAL ACADEMY OF SCIENCES—Analyzing charcoal and phytolith records of soil cores from nonflooded, nonriverine forests in northeastern Peru, researchers found* that the forests were not significantly altered by anthropogenic activity in pre-Columbian history, and material remains of ancient cultures, such as ceramics and stone tools, were also absent from soil samples; the findings suggest that over the last 5,000 years indigenous societies in northeastern Peru helped maintain regional forest integrity and biodiversity, according to the authors.


Ancient plant microfossils called phytoliths from northeastern Peru. Dolores R. Piperno.


Article Source: PNAS news release

*”A 5,000-year vegetation and fire history for tierra firme forests in the Medio Putumayo-Algodón watersheds, northeastern Peru,” by Dolores R. Piperno et al.



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