Soil analysis points to the history of the inhabitants of the ancient Amazon
Ancient Amazon tribes lived in tropical forests for several millennia without destroying natural ecosystems, scientists from the Smithsonian Institute for Tropical Research have found. They analyzed soil in three remote locations in northeastern Peru to reconstruct the region's history over the past 5,000 years, according to the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Scientists looked for microscopic plant fossils and traces of fires, in particular coal. The study showed that the soils near the rivers were neither burned out nor intensively cultivated.
The question of how humans affect the biodiversity of the Amazon has long been debated in the scientific community. New scientific work has helped to better understand this topic.
The authors noted that indigenous tribes certainly influenced the landscape. Their activity was concentrated in nutrient-rich soils near rivers. But at the same time they did not harm the “stable” state of the surrounding tropical forests and did not cause the extinction of the species living there.
Some studies have previously suggested that the aborigines began to destroy the tropical jungle even before the arrival of Europeans. But scientists have refuted this theory.
“The ecosystem of the rainforest has remained relatively stable for thousands of years and was very similar to those still standing in other undisturbed regions around the world today,” the study said.
The new data will help to better understand how humans can interact with rainforest ecosystems without causing them to die. Earlier it became known that the indigenous people of the Amazon age more slowly than people from developed countries. They are also virtually immune to heart disease.