Indigenous history and Amazonian biodiversity

TitleIndigenous history and Amazonian biodiversity
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication1992
AuthorsBalée, WL
EditorSteen, HK, Tucker, RP
Book TitleChanging Tropical Forests: Historical Perspectives on Today's Challenges in Central and South America: Proceedings of a Conference Sponsored by the Forest History Society and IUFRO Forestry History Group, Conference held in San José, Costa Rica
Date Published1992
PublisherForest History Society
CityDurham, NC
Call NumberSD153.C43 1992
Keywordsbiodiversity; Central America; ecology; forestry; South America

The rich biodiversity of Central and South American forests are undergoing difficult times. These forests have been altered throughout history, first by indigenous farming practices and now by state and private sustainable agriculture programs. Swidden type agriculture, practiced by indigenous people, converted many forests to fallows. Fallows and high forests can be compared using the Jaccard coefficient, which is simply the total number of species in a sample area. These numbers tell us that fallow forests represent indigenous reforestation, insofar as species richness of high forests are being replaced by an equivalently rich secondary forest. The number of most important species between fallow and high forests are significantly and predictably different. The indigenous farming practices are undoubtly less destructive than state practices. If modern states cannot protect the remaining indigenous populations, they may lose an abundance of knowledge relating to resource use, management, and biological and ecological diversification. (author)

Research Notes

Additional publisher listed as Duke University Press

Short TitleChanging Tropical Forests