On Swiddening and Pigs: The Management of Micronesian Agroforests

Author(s): Maureece Levin; Molly Shelton; William Ayres

Year: 2016


Agroforestry, or the growing of tree crops, is a long-standing and key food production practice throughout much of the world. As with all systems of food

production, the way that humans manage agroforests has a profound impact on their composition as well as their sustainability. For over 2,000 years,

eastern Micronesians have relied largely on tree crop production, vegeculture, and fishing for subsistence. In this study, we focus on late prehistoric

manipulation of floral environments on the eastern Micronesian high island of Pohnpei, and the ways in which the management of food production systems

has shifted with social and historical changes. Specifically, using a combination of macrocharcoal quantification and phytolith analysis, we show that over

the past 700 years, Pohnpeians have managed their environments using periodic swiddening, and that the introduction of pigs in the historic period

constitutes a notable environmental disruption. We incorporate Pohnpei’s ethnographic and historical record as an important component of our

interpretation of the paleoethnobotanical assemblage.

Cite this Record

On Swiddening and Pigs: The Management of Micronesian Agroforests. Maureece Levin, Molly Shelton, William Ayres. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Orlando, Florida. 2016 ( tDAR id: 403178) ; doi:10.6067/XCV8RJ4M7X

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