Prehistoric Native Americans and Ecological Change

Human Ecosystems in Eastern North America since the Pleistocene

Prehistoric Native Americans and Ecological Change

There has long been controversy between ecologists and archaeologists over the role of prehistoric Native Americans as agents of ecological change. Using ecological and archaeological data from the woodlands of eastern North America, Paul and Hazel Delcourt show that Holocene human ecosystems are complex adaptive systems in which humans have interacted with the environment on a series of spatial and time scales. Their work therefore has important implications for the conservation of biological diversity and for ecological restoration today, making it of great interest to ecologists and archaeologists alike.


"A wealth of information is packed into this small book, and it should be essential reading even for scholars skeptical of the panarchical perspective, those who may think the impact of early and mid-Holocene burning is overlooked, or those who believe the Delcourts exaggerate the negative effects of late pre-Columbian agricultural societies. The writing is clear and engaging, and the figures summarize complex data ingeniously."
Canadian Journal of Archaeology