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Light islands in a sea of dark rainforest: Human influence on fire, climate and biodiversity in the Australian tropics

Author(s): Simon Haberle ; Richard Cosgrove ; Asa Ferrier ; Patrick Moss ; Peter Kershaw

Year: 2016

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Summary

The use of fire in Australian Aboriginal society has been well documented and has been pivotal to arguments about human impact on the Australian biota. Continuous and well-dated palaeoecological sequences from the humid rainforests of NE Queensland are beginning to reveal detailed records of vegetation transformation and shifting fire regimes within rainforest environments. The archaeological record is also providing new insights into plant exploitation and adaptation strategies to enable people to live within a rainforest environment. In this presentation we combine archaeological and palaeoecological approaches to investigate the interaction between Aboriginal people, rainforest and fire. The relationship between the intensity of human occupation, climate variability and, the onset of burning builds a better understanding the primacy of natural and anthropogenic firing events and the Aboriginal maintenance of economically important plants within fire managed mosaics. It has also provided a greater understanding of role of fire in the maintenance of biodiversity.


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Light islands in a sea of dark rainforest: Human influence on fire, climate and biodiversity in the Australian tropics. Simon Haberle, Richard Cosgrove, Asa Ferrier, Patrick Moss, Peter Kershaw. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 402874)


Keywords

Geographic Keywords
Oceania


Spatial Coverage

min long: 111.973; min lat: -52.052 ; max long: -87.715; max lat: 53.331 ;

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America