News Release

Anthropogenic forest use in pre-Columbian Peru

Peer-Reviewed Publication

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences

Ancient plant microfossils

image: Ancient plant microfossils called phytoliths from northeastern Peru. view more 

Credit: Image credit: Dolores R. Piperno.

Analyzing charcoal and phytolith records of soil cores from nonflooded, nonriverine forests in northeastern Peru, researchers found that the forests were not significantly altered by anthropogenic activity in pre-Columbian history, and material remains of ancient cultures, such as ceramics and stone tools, were also absent from soil samples; the findings suggest that over the last 5,000 years indigenous societies in northeastern Peru helped maintain regional forest integrity and biodiversity, according to the authors.


Article #20-22213: "A 5,000-year vegetation and fire history for tierra firme forests in the Medio Putumayo-Algodón watersheds, northeastern Peru," by Dolores R. Piperno et al.

MEDIA CONTACT: Dolores R. Piperno, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC; tel: 703-403-3305; email: <>

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