Crop Domestication in the Amazon

  • Charles R. ClementEmail author
Living reference work entry

Domestication of landscapes and plant and animal populations is a behavioral trait of humans and has been since the Pleistocene (Rindos, 1984; Smith and Zeder, 2013; Tudge, 1999) It follows that the humans who first arrived in Amazonia – perhaps 20,000 years ago (Lahaye et al. 2013) – were not mere hunter-gathers, but were at least part-time domesticators and horticulturalists, contrary to standard stereotypes. The first archaeological evidence of plant population domestication in lowland South America appeared by 12,000 years ago in western Ecuador (Piperno & Stothert, 2003) and the domestication process must have started earlier to become visible then, since evolutionary processes, like domestication, have time lags between the founder event and visibility in the archaeological record (Rindos, 1984).

Landscape domestication is a cultural process whereby human intervention in the landscape and manipulation of landscape components cause changes in landscape ecology and in the...


Sweet Potato Peach Palm Domesticate Population Crop Genetic Diversity Bactris Gasipaes 
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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas da AmazoniaManausBrazil