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The Social Lives of ForestsPast, Present, and Future of Woodland Resurgence$
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Susanna B. Hecht, Kathleen D. Morrison, and Christine Padoch

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780226322667

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2014

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226024134.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 22 January 2022

* Amazonia

* Amazonia

The Historical Ecology of a Domesticated Landscape

(p.199) 15 * Amazonia
The Social Lives of Forests

Clark L. Erickson

University of Chicago Press

Traditional models assume that Amazonian societies did not develop into “civilizations” solely because of deterministic environmental limitations. Historical ecology, in contrast, sees landscape as a medium created by human agents through intentional interaction with the environment that shapes biodiversity and environmental health. This chapter presents archaeological examples of human activities that have created, transformed, and managed environments and their association to biodiversity to argue that ancient peoples domesticated the landscape, creating what we recognize as “nature” in Amazonia. Rather than “adapt to” or be “limited by” the Amazonian environment, humans created, transformed, and managed cultural or anthropogenic landscapes that suited their purposes. These landscapes range from the subtle (often confused with “natural” or “pristine”) to the completely engineered.

Keywords:   Amazonia, environmental determinism, domestication of landscape, archaeology, indigenous knowledge, historical ecology

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