Islands in the Rainforest: Landscape Management in Pre-Columbian Amazonia, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Islands in the Rainforest

Landscape Management in Pre-Columbian Amazonia, 1st Edition

By Stéphen Rostain


277 pages

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Paperback: 9781598746358
pub: 2014-04-01
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Stéphen Rostain’s book is a culmination of 25 years of research on the extensive human modification of the wetlands environment of Guiana and how it reshapes our thinking of ancient settlement in lowland South America and other tropical zones. Rostain demonstrates that populations were capable of developing intensive raised-field agriculture, which supported significant human density, and construct causeways, habitation mounds, canals, and reservoirs to meet their needs. The work is comparative in every sense, drawing on ethnology, ethnohistory, ecology, and geography; contrasting island Guiana with other wetland regions around the world; and examining millennia of pre-Columbian settlement and colonial occupation alike. Rostain’s work demands a radical rethinking of conventional wisdom about settlement in tropical lowlands and landscape management by its inhabitants over the course of millennia.


"This book is part of a new phase in Amazonian cultural geography and anthropology, and shows that the field is branching and spreading…As landscape archaeology and geography of the Amazon develops, this book can serve as a key text on raised field agriculture in a particular geographic context, and as an introduction to pre-Columbian agricultural systems more generally."

- John Walker, University of Central Florida, AAG Review of Books

About the Series

New Frontiers in Historical Ecology

Dynamic new research in the genuinely interdisciplinary field of historical ecology is flourishing in restoration and landscape ecology, geography, forestry and range management, park design, biology, cultural anthropology, and anthropological archaeology. Historical ecology corrects the flaws of previous ecosystems and disequilibrium paradigms by constructing transdisciplinary histories of landscape and regions that recognize the significance of human activity and the power of all forms of knowledge. The preferred theoretical approach of younger scholars in many social and natural science disciplines, historical ecology is also being put into practice around the world by such organizations as UNESCO. The series fosters the next generation of scholars offering a sophisticated grasp of human-environmental interrelationships. The series editors invite proposals for cutting edge books that break new ground in theory or in the practical application of the historical ecology paradigm to contemporary problems.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Anthropology / General