Managing the Effects of Climate Change and Foraging Risk through Dietary Portfolio Diversity, an Example from 13,000 years of Human-Environment Interactions on the Great Plains of North America
This is an abstract from the "Defining and Measuring Diversity in Archaeology" session, at the 84th annual meeting of the Society for American Archaeology.
Food security and risk management are prominent contemporary global challenges, with ~795 million people undernourished worldwide. Climate change is projected to affect the availability, accessibility and stability of food sources, further exacerbating global malnutrition, but this is not a novel human challenge. Food security risk management in the face of climate change was crucial to the survival of ancestral foragers and farmers throughout human evolution. Though fundamental to human survival, little is known about the effects of climate change on foraging-risk management strategies of small-scale societies. To this end, we introduce the concept of "Dietary Portfolios", an optimization technique to model the use of resource diversity as a bet-hedging strategy to manage foraging-risk. As a case study, we investigated the effect of climate change and foraging risk on dietary portfolios of ~2,500 components from the North American Great Plains and adjacent regions. Prehistorically, this area saw heavy reliance on big-game hunting, and delayed horticulture adoption, compared to other North American regions. Results of observed to expected portfolio comparisons across space and time, track variations in foraging and resource risk, providing insight into climate change-related impacts on human-animal-plant interactions over the last 13,000 years.
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Managing the Effects of Climate Change and Foraging Risk through Dietary Portfolio Diversity, an Example from 13,000 years of Human-Environment Interactions on the Great Plains of North America. Erik Otarola-Castillo, Melissa Torquato, Angel Nihells, John Rapes, Matthew Hill. Presented at The 84th Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Albuquerque, NM. 2019 ( tDAR id: 450517)
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Abstract Id(s): 25222