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Christopher T. Fisher’s Presented by Lisa McDevitt.

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1 Christopher T. Fisher’s Presented by Lisa McDevitt

2 Landscape Archaeology (a.k.a. Human Ecodynamics) “Few people, however, least of all our politicians, realize that a primary cause of the collapse of... [civilizations]... has been the destruction of the environmental resources on which they depended” -Jared Diamond (2003:43). cfennell/syllabus/anth453/wood1.jpg Demographic and Landscape Change in the Lake Patzcuaro Basin, Mexico: Abandoning the Garden

3 Christopher T. Fisher, PhD Archaeologist, Associate Professor, Colorado State University Received PhD and MA from University of Wisconsin-Madison Research focuses on the links between humans and their environments, both past and present Conducted fieldwork throughout the U.S., Mexico, Portugal, and Albania Director of Legacies of Resilience, a long-term research endeavor to explain socio-ecosystem evolution over large time scales Image: content/uploads/2008/04/fisher_notescrop.jpghttp://resilientworld.com/wp- content/uploads/2008/04/fisher_notescrop.jpg Demographic and Landscape Change in the Lake Patzcuaro Basin, Mexico: Abandoning the Garden

4 Background Why the Pátzcuara Basin? Previous Conflicting Research: 1.Descendents of Tarascan empire possess “intrinsic knowledge” of nature (Toledo 1991) 2.Ancient farming techniques caused significant erosion (O’ Hara et al. 1993) Tarascan-Civilisation,-1942.jpg Demographic and Landscape Change in the Lake Patzcuaro Basin, Mexico: Abandoning the Garden

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6 What Is Land Degradation? “Environmental change initiated by humans that results in a perceived productivity loss” Demographic and Landscape Change in the Lake Patzcuaro Basin, Mexico: Abandoning the Garden

7 “Gardenization” and Landesque Capital “Degradation Time Clock” “What happens to the garden once it is abandoned?” I5.jpg Demographic and Landscape Change in the Lake Patzcuaro Basin, Mexico: Abandoning the Garden

8 Methods Collection of Earth Science (i.e. sediment samples, depositional profiles, and erosional features) and Archaeological Data at several sites around the Lake Pátzcuaro Basin Analysis of Surface Remains Analysis of soil characteristics and soil structures as indicators of erosion Demographic and Landscape Change in the Lake Patzcuaro Basin, Mexico: Abandoning the Garden

9 Findings Image:http://www.davehaskell.com/images/tzintzuntzan.jpg Demographic and Landscape Change in the Lake Patzcuaro Basin, Mexico: Abandoning the Garden

10 3 Conclusions: 1. Degradation in the Lake Pátzcuaro basin began with the formation of the Tarascan Empire 2. Landscape stability was maintained as population grew. 3. The degradation in the area was the result of the unintended consequences of human action ases/pr_06_01_05_pic.jpg Demographic and Landscape Change in the Lake Patzcuaro Basin, Mexico: Abandoning the Garden

11 Impact Idea that adopting the practices of indigenous farmers will aid in conservation is flawed Converting “wild” land to “garden” forces a human- dependent environment; abandonment of the “garden” leads to trouble A cycle of Creative Destruction and Destructive Creation in the human-environment relationship More research necessary to better understand the matrix of factors contributing to land degradation Demographic and Landscape Change in the Lake Patzcuaro Basin, Mexico: Abandoning the Garden

12 References Fisher, Christopher T. “Demographic and Landscape Change in the Lake Pátzcuaro Basin, Mexico: Abandoning the Garden.” American Anthropologist (2005): 87–95. Web. 30 Oct O’Hara, Sarah L., Alayne F. Street-Perrott, and Timothy P. Burt 1993 “Accelerated Soil Erosion around a Mexican Highland Lake Caused by Prehispanic Agriculture.” Nature 362(6415):48–51. Toledo, Victor M “P´atzcuaro’s Lesson: Nature, Production, and Culture in an Indigenous Region of Mexico. In Biodiversity: Culture, Conservation, and Ecodevelopment.” Margery L. Oldfield and Janis Alcorn, eds. Pp. 146–171. Boulder, CO: Westview Press. Diamond, Jared 2003 “The Last Americans: Environmental Collapse at the End of Civilization. Harper’s Magazine 306(June): 43–51.” "About." Legacies of Resilience. Legacies of Resilience, n.d. Web. 30 Oct "Department of Anthropology." Chris Fisher. Colorado State University, n.d. Web. 30 Oct "The Tarasco Culture and Empire." : Mexico History. Mexiconnect, n.d. Web. 29 Oct Demographic and Landscape Change in the Lake Patzcuaro Basin, Mexico: Abandoning the Garden


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