Surprise: humans had positive effect on rainforest environment

Watts Up With That?

From the UNIVERSITY OF WATERLOO:

People enhanced the environment, not degraded it, over past 13,000 years

New research shows that 13,000 years of repeated human occupation by British Columbia's coastal First Nations has enhanced temperate rainforest productivity. CREDIT Will McInnes/Hakai Institute New research shows that 13,000 years of repeated human occupation by British Columbia’s coastal First Nations has enhanced temperate rainforest productivity. CREDIT Will McInnes/Hakai Institute

Human occupation is usually associated with deteriorated landscapes, but new research shows that 13,000 years of repeated occupation by British Columbia’s coastal First Nations has had the opposite effect, enhancing temperate rainforest productivity.

Andrew Trant, a professor in the Faculty of Environment at the University of Waterloo, led the study in partnership with the University of Victoria and the Hakai Institute. The research combined remote-sensed, ecological and archaeological data from coastal sites where First Nations’ have lived for millennia. It shows trees growing at former habitation sites are taller, wider and healthier than those in the surrounding forest. This finding is, in large part, due to shell middens and fire.

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