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Diversity 2010, 2(4), 618-652; doi:10.3390/d2040619
Article

The Transformation of Environment into Landscape: The Historical Ecology of Monumental Earthwork Construction in the Bolivian Amazon

Department of Anthropology, University of Pennsylvania, 33rd and Spruce Streets, Philadelphia, PA 19104-6398, USA
Received: 28 January 2010 / Revised: 14 April 2010 / Accepted: 15 April 2010 / Published: 19 April 2010
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Abstract

Although the Neotropics are recognized as a region rich in biological diversity, the origin, evolution, and maintenance of this phenomenon continues to be debated. Historical ecologists and landscape archaeologists point out that the Neotropics have a long, complex human history that may have been a key factor in the creation, shaping, and management of present day biodiversity. The construction of monumental earthworks referred to as ring ditches of the Bolivian Amazon and surrounding regions in late prehistory had considerable impact on the fauna, flora, soils, and topography of forest islands. Patterned landscape features, historical documents, energetics, and historical ecology are used to understand the transformation of forest islands into anthropogenic built environments.
Keywords: historical ecology; landscape archaeology; historical contingency; engineered landscape; forest islands; Bolivia; Amazonia historical ecology; landscape archaeology; historical contingency; engineered landscape; forest islands; Bolivia; Amazonia
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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Erickson, C.L. The Transformation of Environment into Landscape: The Historical Ecology of Monumental Earthwork Construction in the Bolivian Amazon. Diversity 2010, 2, 618-652.

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