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An important contribution to the emerging field of historical ecology, this volume illuminates the ways in which the landscape reflects human history and culture. The collection combines cutting edge research with new perspectives on the effects of human societies on the neotropical lowlands of South and Central America. The contributors show that rather than adapting to preexisting environmental constraints, as has been traditionally assumed, local peoples have changed the landscape to fit their needs. They have altered their environment by managing and modifying species diversity, enhancing landscape heterogeneity, and controlling ecological disturbance.
"Time and Complexity in Historical Ecology" includes essays from anthropologists, botanists, ecologists, and biologists. The contributors examine changes in the landscapes of the Ecuadorian Andes, Amazonia, the desert coast of Peru, and other milieus in the neotropics. The book also addresses important contemporary issues, such as biodiversity and genetic variation and change.