Author(s): Dillehay TD, Kolata AL
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Abstract Human interaction with the physical environment has increasingly transformed Earth-system processes. Reciprocally, climate anomalies and other processes of environmental change of natural and anthropogenic origin have been affecting, and often disrupting, societies throughout history. Transient impact events, despite their brevity, can have significant long-term impact on society, particularly if they occur in the context of ongoing, protracted environmental change. Major climate events can affect human activities in critical conjunctures that shape particular trajectories of social development. Here we report variable human responses to major environmental events in the Andes with a particular emphasis on the period from anno Domini 500-1500 on the desert north coast of Perú. We show that preindustrial agrarian societies implemented distinct forms of anticipatory response to environmental change and uncertainty. We conclude that innovations in production strategies and agricultural infrastructures in these indigenous societies reflect differential social response to both transient (El Niño-Southern Oscillation events) and protracted (desertification) environmental change.
This article was published in Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A
and referenced in Journal of Bioremediation & Biodegradation