Arboriculture, Translocated Flora, and Ecological Inheritance in the Marquesas Islands, East Polynesia
Contact-period accounts point to considerable variability in Polynesian agronomic production systems. In the Marquesas Islands, a mountainous island group in the eastern Pacific, food production in the proto-historic period was narrowly focused on tree cropping and breadfruit cultivation in particular. Early western visitors remarked on the archipelago’s large and thriving island populations, and their stable and productive arboricultural systems. In this paper, we present the results of a multi-valley archaeobotanical study that documents the timing and character of native forest transformations and the creation of anthropogenic ones on Nuku Hiva, the largest island in the archipelago. The evidence suggests that early niche construction activities (forest clearance, species replacement, erosion management, and the creation of extensive tree plantations) gave rise to an ecological inheritance that was beneficial to the long-term fitness of Marquesan populations. We consider the co-evolution of local landscapes, translocated arborescent flora, and Marquesan societies.
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Arboriculture, Translocated Flora, and Ecological Inheritance in the Marquesas Islands, East Polynesia. Jennifer Huebert, Melinda S. Allen. Presented at The 82nd Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Washington, DC. 2018 ( tDAR id: 442735)
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min long: 153.633; min lat: -51.399 ; max long: -107.578; max lat: 24.207 ;
Abstract Id(s): 20610