Arquivo da tag: Manejo florestal

Ancient Indigenous forest gardens promote a healthy ecosystem, says study (Native News Post)

nativenewspost.com


An aerial view of a forest garden. Credit: SFU

A new study by Simon Fraser University historical ecologists finds that Indigenous-managed forests—cared for as “forest gardens”—contain more biologically and functionally diverse species than surrounding conifer-dominated forests and create important habitat for animals and pollinators. The findings are published today in Ecology and Society.

According to researchers, ancient forests were once tended by Ts’msyen and Coast Salish peoples living along the north and south Pacific coast. These forest gardens continue to grow at remote archeological villages on Canada’s northwest coast and are composed of native fruit and nut trees and shrubs such as crabapple, hazelnut, cranberry, wild plum, and wild cherries. Important medicinal plants and root foods like wild ginger and wild rice root grow in the understory layers.

“These plants never grow together in the wild,” says Chelsey Geralda Armstrong, an SFU Indigenous Studies assistant professor and the study lead researcher. “It seemed obvious that people put them there to grow all in one spot—like a garden. Elders and knowledge holders talk about perennial management all the time.”

“It’s no surprise these forest gardens continue to grow at archeological village sites that haven’t yet been too severely disrupted by settler-colonial land-use.”

Ts’msyen and Coast Salish peoples’ management practices challenge the assumption that humans tend to overturn or exhaust the ecosystems they inhabit. This research highlights how Indigenous peoples not only improved the inhabited landscape, but were also keystone builders, facilitating the creation of habitat in some cases. The findings provide strong evidence that Indigenous management practices are tied to ecosystem health and resilience.

“Human activities are often considered detrimental to biodiversity, and indeed, industrial land management has had devastating consequences for biodiversity,” says Jesse Miller, study co-author, ecologist and lecturer at Stanford University. “Our research, however, shows that human activities can also have substantial benefits for biodiversity and ecosystem function. Our findings highlight that there continues to be an important role for human activities in restoring and managing ecosystems in the present and future.”

Forest gardens are a common management regime identified in Indigenous communities around the world, especially in tropical regions. Armstrong says the study is the first time forest gardens have been studied in North America—showing how important Indigenous peoples are in the maintenance and defense of some of the most functionally diverse ecosystems on the Northwest Coast.

“The forest gardens of Kitselas Canyon are a testament to the long-standing practice of Kitselas people shaping the landscape through stewardship and management,” says Chris Apps, director, Kitselas Lands & Resources Department. “Studies such as this reconnect the community with historic resources and support integration of traditional approaches with contemporary land-use management while promoting exciting initiatives for food sovereignty and cultural reflection.”



More information:
Chelsey Geralda Armstrong et al, Historical Indigenous Land-Use Explains Plant Functional Trait Diversity, Ecology and Society (2021). DOI: 10.5751/ES-12322-260206

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Ancient Indigenous forest gardens promote a healthy ecosystem, says study (2021, April 22)
retrieved 22 April 2021
from https://phys.org/news/2021-04-ancient-indigenous-forest-gardens-healthy.html

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Ancient Indigenous forest gardens promote a healthy ecosystem (Science Daily)

Date: April 22, 2021

Source: Simon Fraser University

Summary: A new study by historical ecologists finds that Indigenous-managed forests — cared for as ‘forest gardens’ — contain more biologically and functionally diverse species than surrounding conifer-dominated forests and create important habitat for animals and pollinators.


A new study by Simon Fraser University historical ecologists finds that Indigenous-managed forests — cared for as “forest gardens” — contain more biologically and functionally diverse species than surrounding conifer-dominated forests and create important habitat for animals and pollinators. The findings are published today in Ecology and Society.

According to researchers, ancient forests were once tended by Ts’msyen and Coast Salish peoples living along the north and south Pacific coast. These forest gardens continue to grow at remote archaeological villages on Canada’s northwest coast and are composed of native fruit and nut trees and shrubs such as crabapple, hazelnut, cranberry, wild plum, and wild cherries. Important medicinal plants and root foods like wild ginger and wild rice root grow in the understory layers.

“These plants never grow together in the wild,” says Chelsey Geralda Armstrong, an SFU Indigenous Studies assistant professor and the study lead researcher. “It seemed obvious that people put them there to grow all in one spot — like a garden. Elders and knowledge holders talk about perennial management all the time.”

“It’s no surprise these forest gardens continue to grow at archaeological village sites that haven’t yet been too severely disrupted by settler-colonial land-use.”

Ts’msyen and Coast Salish peoples’ management practices challenge the assumption that humans tend to overturn or exhaust the ecosystems they inhabit. This research highlights how Indigenous peoples not only improved the inhabited landscape, but were also keystone builders, facilitating the creation of habitat in some cases. The findings provide strong evidence that Indigenous management practices are tied to ecosystem health and resilience.

“Human activities are often considered detrimental to biodiversity, and indeed, industrial land management has had devastating consequences for biodiversity,” says Jesse Miller, study co-author, ecologist and lecturer at Stanford University. “Our research, however, shows that human activities can also have substantial benefits for biodiversity and ecosystem function. Our findings highlight that there continues to be an important role for human activities in restoring and managing ecosystems in the present and future.”

Forest gardens are a common management regime identified in Indigenous communities around the world, especially in tropical regions. Armstrong says the study is the first time forest gardens have been studied in North America — showing how important Indigenous peoples are in the maintenance and defence of some of the most functionally diverse ecosystems on the Northwest Coast.

“The forest gardens of Kitselas Canyon are a testament to the long-standing practice of Kitselas people shaping the landscape through stewardship and management,” says Chris Apps, director, Kitselas Lands & Resources Department. “Studies such as this reconnect the community with historic resources and support integration of traditional approaches with contemporary land-use management while promoting exciting initiatives for food sovereignty and cultural reflection.”



Journal Reference:

  1. Chelsey Geralda Armstrong, Jesse E. D. Miller, Alex C. McAlvay, Patrick Morgan Ritchie, Dana Lepofsky. Historical Indigenous Land-Use Explains Plant Functional Trait Diversity. Ecology and Society, 2021; 26 (2) DOI: 10.5751/ES-12322-260206

Long Before Making Enigmatic Earthworks, People Reshaped Brazil’s Rain Forest (N.Y.Times)

By   FEB. 10, 2017

New research suggests people were sustainably managing the Amazon rain forest much earlier than was previously thought. Credit: Jenny Watling 

Deep in the Amazon, the rain forest once covered ancient secrets. Spread across hundreds of thousands of acres are massive, geometric earthworks. The carvings stretch out in circles and squares that can be as big as a city block, with trenches up to 12 yards wide and 13 feet deep. They appear to have been built up to 2,000 years ago.

Were the broken ceramics found near the entrances used for ritual sacrifices? Why were they here? The answer remains a mystery.

There are 450 geoglyphs concentrated in Brazil’s Acre State. Credit: Jenny Watling 

For centuries, the enigmatic structures remained hidden to all but a few archaeologists. Then in the 1980s, ranchers cleared land to raise cattle, uncovering the true extent of the earthworks in the process. More than 450 of these geoglyphs are concentrated within Acre State in Brazil.

Since the discovery, archaeological study of the earthworks and other evidence has challenged the notion that the rain forests of the Amazon were untouched by human hands before the arrival of European explorers in the 15th century. And while the true purpose of the geoglyphs remains unknown, a study published on Monday in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences offers new insight into the lives of the ancient people who lived in the Amazon. Thousands of years before the earthworks were built, humans were managing the forests, using what appear to be sustainable agricultural practices.

“Our study was looking at the environmental impact that the geoglyph builders had on the landscape,” said Jennifer Watling, an archaeologist at the University of São Paulo, Brazil, who conducted the research while a student at the University of Exeter in Britain. “A lot of people have the idea that the Amazon forests are pristine forests, never touched by humans, and that’s obviously not the case.”

Dr. Watling and her team reconstructed a 6,000-year-old environmental history of two geoglyph sites in the Amazon rain forest. To do this, they searched for clues in soil samples in and around the sites. Microscopic plant fossils called phytoliths told them about ancient vegetation. Bits of charcoal revealed evidence of burnings. And a kind of carbon dating gave them a sense of how open the vegetation had been in the past.

About 4,000 years ago, people started burning the forest, which was mostly bamboo, just enough to make small openings. They may have planted maize or squash, weeded out some underbrush, and transported seeds or saplings to create a partly curated forest of useful tree products that Dr. Watling calls a “prehistoric supermarket.” After that, they started building the geoglyphs. The presence of just a few artifacts, and the layout of the earthworks, suggest they weren’t used as ancient villages or for military defenses. They were likely built for rituals, some archaeologists suspect.

Dr. Watling and her colleagues found that in contrast with the large-scale deforestation we see today — which threatens about 20 percent of the largest rain forest in the world — ancient indigenous people of the Amazon practiced something more akin to what we now call agroforestry. They restricted burns to site locations and maintained the surrounding landscape, creating small, temporary clearings in the bamboo and promoting the growth of plants like palm, cedar and Brazil nut that were, and still are, useful commodities. Today, indigenous groups around the world continue these sustainable practices in forests.

“Indigenous communities have actually transformed the ecosystem over a very long time,” said Dr. Watling. “The modern forest owes its biodiversity to the agroforestry practices that were happening during the time of the geoglyph builders.”