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GLOBAL ENVIRONMENT

 

Environmental History, Traditional Populations, and Paleo-territories
in the Brazilian Atlantic Coastal Forest


Rogério Ribeiro de Oliveira

Global Environment 1 (2008): 176–191

This article examines the long-run anthropogenic factors that have affected the Atlantic Coastal Forest, where human activities was one of the ecological factors that influenced the biome, which formerly covered almost the entire Brazilian coast. The author proposes the concept of “paleo-territories” as part of this analysis of sucessional processes. The expression refers to the spatialization of influences of past ecosystem usage by a specific traditional population or economic cycle. A paleo-territory is the anthropogenic portion of the biotic and abiotic processes that affect the regeneration of forests, in which both the culture and technology of traditional human populations play a determining role. As such, the Atlantic Coastal Forest exhibits ecological attributes that reflect the long history of the co-existence of these populations within the regional ecosystem, and may hence not be a fully “natural” biome. The major impact of humans on the Atlantic Coastal Forest makes it imperative for any study of forest ecology to take account of human activity.

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