Historical accounts of the Inca indicate that they greatly valued trees and practiced planting to fulfil their needs for fuel and timber. These records are evaluated in the light of palaeoecological and archaeological evidence suggesting a dramatic increase in arboreal taxa from c. AD 1100 during a period of significant global temperature increase. This natural vegetation response to improving environmental conditions may have stimulated management;it is suggested that agroforestry has a long tradition in the Andes. With the arrival of the Spanish, in the 1530s, land management practices changed and forest resources became increasingly overexploited. A multidisciplinary approach may provide important lessons from the past for modern policy makers in Peru. Widespread planting ofEucalyptus may not be an appropriate solution. Land restoration projects should take account of natural diversity and utilize a range of native species. This is relevant in view of the current period of rising temperatures, and may help to alleviate both soil erosion and rural poverty.
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Vol. 29 • No. 6