That lost Amazonian civilisation

So, they\’re finding more remnants of this extensive and long lasting Amazonian civilisation:

The discoveries have demolished ideas that soils in the upper Amazon were too poor to support extensive agriculture, says Denise Schaan, a co-author of the study and anthropologist at the Federal University of Pará, in Belém, Brazil. She told National Geographic: \”We found this picture is wrong. And there is a lot more to discover in these places, it\’s never-ending. Every week we find new structures.\”

It also rather demolishes the idea that the Amazon rain forest does not and cannot regenerate itself.

8 comments on “That lost Amazonian civilisation

  1. Isn’t the problem rather that, if you cut down the mature trees, it’s a different forest that regenerates itself, with different species..?

  2. As with the tigers post, you seem to have a rather limited understanding of ecological habitat.

  3. “It’s just trees, innit?”

    JuliaM, sorry – was referring to the blog owner. You are, of course, correct regarding forest maturity.

  4. “Isn’t the problem rather that, if you cut down the mature trees, it’s a different forest that regenerates itself, with different species..?”

    Why would what is growing there be a ‘problem’? Why should its “difference” be a problem?

    The only potential “problem” is that it does not agree with received wisdoms belief of what the past history of the area ought to be.

    The whole rain forest ethos is a European/Western construct, and as we see here, reality is very different, as that section of the Amazon was previously Suburbia.
    At some stage prior to that, probably savanna grassland.

    But it is clearly identifiable as mans’ ecological habitat, so we should be sending the bulldozers in to build some condos.

  5. When we lived in Queensland there was a fuss about some pristine rainforest. Then someone found aerial photographs showing that it had grown within living memory.

  6. JuliaM – “Isn’t the problem rather that, if you cut down the mature trees, it’s a different forest that regenerates itself, with different species..?”

    It depends on the type of trees. Some forests are dominated by what is called a “climax species”. These are usually very tall trees like Redwoods. As they grow, they deprive shorter trees of sunlight and so gradually the whole forest is made up of just these trees. If a fire goes through the forest or you log it, other tree species have a chance to get a foothold and the forest will be more diverse. Until the climax species grows tall enough to crowd the others out. So logging tends to increase bio-diversity.

    However I think the point here is that this pristine rain forest was logged a while back (500 years is a while admittedly) and no one noticed. Scientists thought it was untouched. It was not distinguishable from virgin forest in any way. That is interesting.

  7. Same with the Congo Rainforest. They couldn’t work out why there were Elephants in the Congo r/f. It turned out that most of it was only about 800 years old (still fairly old) and previously it was cultivated/ grassland. The Elephants had stayed put and the r/f grew up around them.

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