Landscape Ecology

, Volume 7, Issue 2, pp 121-135

First online:

The shapes of adaptation: Historical ecology of anthropogenic landscapes in the southeastern United States

  • Julia E. HammettAffiliated withResearch Laboratories of Anthropology, University of North Carolina

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Native inhabitants of the Southeastern United States traditionally practiced land management strategies, including burning and clearing, that created ‘anthropogenic landscapes’. From the viewpoint of landscape ecology, analysis of historic documents including drawings and deerskin maps from the sixteenth, seventeenth and eighteenth centuries depicted the Native Southeastern landscape as a series of circular patches surrounded by buffer areas. This character contrasted sharply with early European coastal settlements which were more typically rectangular in shape. Differences between Native American and European land use patterns and implied perceptions of the landscape reflect distinct differences in their respective cultural models and intentionality.


historical ecology Native North Americans anthropogenic landscapes corridors patches