Environment and Nature in the Andes

  • David L. Browman
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-4425-0_8571

The Central Andes were the home of the Incas, an ancient civilization who created an enormous empire, larger in area than the Roman empire. Only indigenous peoples of the Himalayas have adapted as well as the native Andeans to high mountain environments. The ancestors of the Incas arrived in the Central Andes as nomadic hunters and gatherers perhaps 15,000 years ago. They began agropastoral lifeways (camelid herding and plant cultivation) around 8,000 years ago. Many of the contemporary human–nature relationships can first be identified as developing during that period.

An essentially treeless grassland – the Ecuadorian paramo, the Peruvian puna, the Bolivian altiplano, and the Argentine salt puna– which is the home of the native herders and sierra farmers – occurs along the upper slopes, plateaus, and tablelands of the Andean mountain chain. Because similar elevations support trees elsewhere in the world, the question is raised: why is the zone essentially treeless today? Is it...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

References

  1. Antuñez de Mayolo, Santiago E. Sistema Precolombino de Previsión del Clima. Lima: Biblioteca Nacional, 2004.Google Scholar
  2. Bastien, Joseph. Mountain of the Condor: Metaphor and Ritual in an Andean Ayllu. St. Paul, Minnesota: West Publishing Co., 1978.Google Scholar
  3. Browman, David L., ed. Arid Land Use Strategies and Risk Management in the Andes. Boulder: Westview Press, 1987.Google Scholar
  4. Brush, Stephen B. Mountain, Field and Family: The Economy and Human Ecology of an Andean Valley. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1977.Google Scholar
  5. Classen, Constance. Inca Cosmology and the Human Body. Salt Lake City: University of Utah Press, 1993.Google Scholar
  6. Denevan, William M. Cultivated Landscapes of Native Amazonia and the Andes. New York: Oxford University Press, 2001.Google Scholar
  7. Erickson, Clark L. Prehistoric Landscape Management in the Andean Highlands: Raised Field Agriculture and Its Environmental Impact. Population and Environment 13.4 (1992): 285–300.Google Scholar
  8. ‐‐‐. The Lake Titicaca Basin: A Precolumbian Built Landscape. Imperfect Balance: Landscape Transformations in the Precolumbian Americas. Ed. David L. Lentz. New York: Columbia University Press, 2000. 311–56 http://www.ccat.sas.upenn/fishweir/articles/Lentzvol.pdf.
  9. Gade, Daniel W. Plants, Man and the Land in the Vilcanota Valley of Peru. The Hague: W. Junk Publishers, 1975.Google Scholar
  10. ‐‐‐. Nature and Culture in the Andes. Madison: University of Wisconsin Press, 1999.Google Scholar
  11. Isbell, Billie Jean. To Defend Ourselves: Ecology and Ritual in an Andean Village. Austin: University of Texas Press, 1978.Google Scholar
  12. Orlove, Benjamin S. Land and Power in Latin America: Agrarian Economies and Social Process in the Andes. New York: Holmes and Meier Publishers, 1980.Google Scholar
  13. ‐‐‐. Lines in the Water: Nature and Culture at Lake Titicaca. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002 http://www.des.ucdavis.edu/faculty/Orlove/book/appendices/index.html.
  14. Ruddiman, William F. The Anthropogenic Greenhouse Era Began Thousands of Years Ago. Climatic Change 61 (2003): 261–93.Google Scholar
  15. Winterhalder, Bruce and R. Brooke Thomas. Geo‐Ecology of Southern Highland Peru: A Human Adaptation Perspective. Boulder: University of Colorado Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research, 1978.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg New York 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • David L. Browman

There are no affiliations available