On the occasion of the PhD defence of Carolina Levis there will be a Mini-symposium "Humans shape tropical forests" " (June 14, 15-17hrs Lumen building Wageningen).
You are cordially invited to join.
The idea that Amazonian forests have been largely untouched by humans has fascinated the society and scientists worldwide. However, humans arrived in the Amazon basin at least 13,000 years Before Present (BP) and populations expanded strongly around 2,500 years BP. Cultivation and management of Amazonian flora by past societies may have significantly contributed to the ecological patterns we see today. In my thesis, I unified social and natural scientific disciplines to generate the first broad-scale assessment of the effects of long-term human activities in modern Amazonian forests. During the millennia that humans have lived in Amazonia, they modified landscapes around their villages into forest mosaics formed by patches rich in fertile anthropogenic soils and forest resources, such as food, medicine and construction materials. The results of this thesis reveal that the Amazonian forest is in part a surviving heritage of its past inhabitants that depends on current local management practices to persist.