A study that delves into the history of the Amazon rainforest found that indigenous peoples lived there for thousands of years and “no species loss or disruption was detected.”
Scientists studying in Peru have investigated soil layers for microscopic fossil evidence of human influence.
They found that the forest was not “opened, cultivated, or significantly altered in prehistoric times.
This study is published in the journal PNAS.
Dr. Dolores Piperno, Smithsonian Institute for Tropical Studies In Balboa, Panama, who led the study, evidence could help shape modern conservation, revealing how people can live while maintaining the incredibly rich biodiversity of the Amazon. I made it.
Dr. Piperno’s findings influence the ongoing debate about how the vast and diverse landscape of the Amazon has been shaped by indigenous peoples.
Some studies suggest that the landscape was actively and intensively formed by indigenous peoples before the arrival of Europeans in South America. Recent studies have shown that The tree species that currently dominate the forest were planted by prehistoric humans..
Dr. Piperno told BBC News that the new findings provide evidence that indigenous peoples’ use of the rainforest was “sustainable and did not cause detectable species loss or disruption for thousands of years.” ..
To find that evidence, she and her colleagues performed a kind of botanical archeology-excavating a layer of soil and dating to build a photo of the history of the rainforest. Surveyed three remote soils in northeastern Peru.
All three were located at least one kilometer away from the rivers and floodplains known as the “interfluves.” Since these forests occupy more than 90% of the Amazon’s land area, studying these forests is key to understanding the impact of indigenous peoples on the overall landscape.
They examined each sedimentary layer to find fossils of fine plants called plant stones, a small record of what has grown in the forest for thousands of years. “For more than 5,000 years, there was little evidence of human alteration,” said Dr. Piperno.
“Therefore, I think there is now a lot of evidence that forests away from the river were less populated and unaltered.”
Scientists say their findings also show the value of indigenous knowledge that helps conserve Amazon’s biodiversity. For example, teaching the selection of the best species for reforestation and recovery.
“Indigenous peoples have a great deal of knowledge about their forests and the environment and need to incorporate it into our conservation plans,” said Dr. Piperno.
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