1st Edition

Climatic and Ecological Change in the Americas A Perspective from Historical Ecology

    256 Pages 27 B/W Illustrations
    by Routledge

    This book offers a comparative analysis of the experiences, responses, and adaptations of people to climate variability and environmental change across the Americas. It foregrounds historical ecology as a structural framework for understanding the climate change crisis throughout the region and throughout time. In recent years, Indigenous and local populations in particular have experienced climate change effects such as altered weather patterns, seasonal irregularities, flooding and drought, and difficulties relating to subsistence practices. Understanding and dealing with these challenges has drawn on peoples’ longstanding experience with climate variability and in some cases includes models of mitigation and responses that are millennia old. With contributions from specialists across the Americas, this volume will be of interest to scholars from fields including anthropology, archaeology, geography, environmental studies, and Indigenous studies.


    William Balée


    James Andrew Whitaker, Chelsey Geralda Armstrong, and Guillaume Odonne

    1 "Open the Floodgates of Heaven": Amazonian Climate Change in Pre-Columbian Times

    Stéphen Rostain and Jonas Gregorio da Souza

    2 The Milpa Cycle as a Sustainable Ecological Resource

    Anabel Ford

    3 Confronting Climatic Instability in Coastal California Through the Lens of Archaeology and Historical Ecology

    Torben Rick, Gabriel Sanchez, and Shannon Tushingham

    4 Indigenous People Prevented Climate-Induced Ecological Change for Millennia: Evidence from the Prairie Peninsula and Fire-Loving Forests of Eastern North America

    Natalie G. Mueller

    5 Indigenous Land Use and Fire Resilience of Southwest USA Ponderosa Pine Forests

    Christopher I. Roos, Thomas W. Swetnam, and Christopher H. Guiterman

    6 Different Relational Models have Shaped the Biocultural Conservation over Time of Araucaria araucana Forests and Their People

    Ana H. Ladio and Mauricio Sedrez dos Reis

    7 Ancient and Ongoing Land-Use as Climate Change Mitigation in Ts’msyen, Heiltsuk, and Wuikinuxv Homelands

    Chelsey Geralda Armstrong, Sara Wickham, and Kalina Hunter

    8 Clam Gardens Across Generations and Places Support Social-Ecological Resilience to Global Change

    Dana Lepofsky and Anne Salomon

    9 Ancient Knowledge, Future Wisdom: Archaeological Perspectives of Caribbean Coastal Food and Habitat Security during Times of Climate Crises

    Isabel Rivera-Collazo

    10 Whose Climate Change Is It? A Thousand-Year Example of Kali’na Responses to Shifting Coastal Landscapes in the Lower Maroni River

    Marquisar Jean-Jacques, Marianne Palisse, Martijn Van Den Bel, Antoine Gardel, and Edward Anthony

    11 Long-Term Ecological and Climate Changes through Amazonian Indigenous Oral Histories

    Pirjo Kristiina Virtanen, Álvaro Férnandez-Llamazares, and Francisco Apurinã

    12 Owning Climate Change among the Makushi and Akawaio

    James Andrew Whitaker


    Victoria Reyes-García and André Braga Junqueira


    James Andrew Whitaker is Assistant Professor of Anthropology at Troy University. He is a former Postdoctoral Researcher at the CNRS (French National Center for Scientific Research) in Laboratoire Ecologie, Evolution, Interactions des Systemes Amazoniens (LEEISA). He is also an Honorary Research Fellow at the University of St Andrews and Adjunct Faculty at Mississippi State University.

    Chelsey Geralda Armstrong is Assistant Professor in the Department of Indigenous Studies at Simon Fraser University, Canada, and Director of the Historical and Ethnoecological Research (HER) Lab.

    Guillaume Odonne is Researcher at LEEISA (Laboratoire Ecologie, Evolution, Interactions des Systèmes amazoniens) with the CNRS (Centre national de la recherche scientifique) based in French Guiana. He manages the EthnYC (Ethnoecology and Cultural Dynamics) team.