Translator Disclaimer
1 September 2009 Resource Resilience, Human Niche Construction, and the Long-Term Sustainability of Pre-Columbian Subsistence Economies in the Mississippi River Valley Corridor
Author Affiliations +
Abstract
In small-scale human societies, a variety of factors contribute to the sustainability of subsistence economies, including premeditated conservation measures, low human population levels and predation pressure, and limited technological capacity to adversely impact environments. Here I suggest that it is worthwhile to look beyond simple characterizations of small-scale societies as being “low impact” in terms of their limited population, predation, and technology. Instead, we should look more closely both at the degree to which primary prey species are resilient to human predation and at the extent to which the niche construction efforts of small-scale human societies may modify vegetation communities in ways that result in their capture of a larger percentage of an ecosystem's total biotic energy. The small-scale Pre-Columbian societies occupying the Mississippi River Valley provide a case study. Throughout the Middle and Late Holocene, indigenous groups in this major north-south environmental corridor relied for protein to a substantial degree on a set of animal species/species groups (white-tailed deer, fish, migratory waterfowl) that combined both a high biotic potential and relative immunity from over-exploitation. At the same time, they practiced an integrated overall strategy of restructuring vegetation communities in ways that enhanced and expanded the habitats of many important food sources.
and Bruce D. Smith "Resource Resilience, Human Niche Construction, and the Long-Term Sustainability of Pre-Columbian Subsistence Economies in the Mississippi River Valley Corridor," Journal of Ethnobiology 29(2), (1 September 2009). https://doi.org/10.2993/0278-0771-29.2.167
JOURNAL ARTICLE
17 PAGES


SHARE
ARTICLE IMPACT
RIGHTS & PERMISSIONS
Get copyright permission
Back to Top