Long-term influence of early human occupations on current forests of the Guiana Shield

Type Article
Date 2019-10
Language English
Author(s) Odonne Guillaume1, Van Den Bel Martijn2, Burst Maxime3, Brunaux Olivier4, Bruno Miléna1, Dambrine Etienne5, Davy Damien1, Desprez Mathilde6, Engel Julien, Ferry Bruno2, Freycon Vincent, Grenand Pierre1, Jérémie Sylvie2, Mestre Mickael2, Molino Jean-François, Petronelli Pascal6, Sabatier Daniel, Hérault Bruno
Affiliation(s) 1 : LEEISA (Laboratoire Ecologie; Evolution, Interactions des Systèmes Amazoniens), CNRS, Université de Guyane, IFREMER; 97300 Cayenne ,French Guiana
2 : Institut National de Recherches Archéologiques Préventives; 97300 Cayenne, French Guiana
3 : Université de Lorraine - AgroParisTech - INRA, UMR 1434 Silva; Faculté des Sciences et Technologies; 54506 Vandoeuvre-les-Nancy cedex, France
4 : ONF-Guyane; Réserve de Montabo; 97307 Cayenne, French Guiana
5 : Univ. Savoie Mont Blanc; INRA; CARRTEL 74200 Thonon-les-Bains ,France
6 : Cirad, UMR Écologie des Forêts de Guyane (AgroParisTech, CNRS, INRA, Université des Antilles, Université de Guyane); 97310 Kourou ,France
7 : International Center for Tropical Botany, Department of Biological Sciences, Florida International University, Miami, FL 33199, USA
8 : Cirad, Univ Montpellier, UR Forests and Societies, 34000 Montpellier, France
9 : AMAP, IRD, Cirad, CNRS, INRA, Université de Montpellier, Montpellier, France
10 : Institut National Polytechnique Félix Houphouet-Boigny (INP-HB), Yamoussoukro, Ivory Coast
Source Ecology (0012-9658) (Wiley), 2019-10 , Vol. 100 , N. 10 , P. e02806 (14p.)
DOI 10.1002/ecy.2806
WOS© Times Cited 22
Keyword(s) Amazonian forest, archaeology, ethnobotany, Guiana Shield, historical ecology, pre-Columbian settlements, ring-ditched hills

To decipher the long‐term influences of pre‐Columbian land occupations on contemporary forest structure, diversity and functioning in Amazonia, most of the previous research focused on the alluvial plains of the major rivers of the Amazon basin. Terra firme, i.e. non‐flooded forests, particularly from the Guiana Shield, are yet to be explored. In this study, we aim to give new insights into the subtle traces of pre‐Columbian influences on present‐day forests given the archaeological context of terra firme forests of the Guiana Shield. Following archeological prospects on 13 sites in French Guiana, we carried out forest inventories inside and outside archaeological sites and assessed the potential pre‐Columbian use of the sampled tree species using an original ethnobotanical database of the Guiana Shield region. Aboveground biomass (320 and 380 T.ha−1 respectively), basal area (25‐30 and 30‐35 m2.ha−1 respectively) and tree density (550 and 700 stem.ha−1 respectively) were all significantly lower on anthropized plots (As) than on non‐anthropized plots (NAs). Ancient human presence shaped the species composition of the sampled forests with Arecaceae, Burseraceae and Lauraceae, significantly more frequent in As and Annonaceae and Lecythidaceae more frequent in NAs. While alpha diversity was not different between As and NAs, the presence of pre‐Columbian sites enhances significantly the forest beta diversity at the landscape level. Finally, trees with edible fruits are positively associated with pre‐Columbian sites while trees used for construction or for their bark are negatively associated with pre‐Columbian sites. Half a millennium after their abandonment, former occupied places from the inner Guiana Shield still bear noticeable differences with non‐anthropized places. Considering the lack of data concerning archeology of terra firme Amazonian forests, our results suggest that pre‐Columbian influences on the structure (lower current biomass), diversity (higher beta diversity) and composition (linked to the past human tree uses) of current Amazonian forests might be more important than previously thought.

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AppendixS1 1 115 KB Open access
AppendixS2 2 122 KB Open access
AppendixS3 2 122 KB Open access
AppendixS4 1 295 KB Open access
AppendixS5 2 133 KB Open access
AppendixS6 1 214 KB Open access
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Odonne Guillaume, Van Den Bel Martijn, Burst Maxime, Brunaux Olivier, Bruno Miléna, Dambrine Etienne, Davy Damien, Desprez Mathilde, Engel Julien, Ferry Bruno, Freycon Vincent, Grenand Pierre, Jérémie Sylvie, Mestre Mickael, Molino Jean-François, Petronelli Pascal, Sabatier Daniel, Hérault Bruno (2019). Long-term influence of early human occupations on current forests of the Guiana Shield. Ecology, 100(10), e02806 (14p.). Publisher's official version : https://doi.org/10.1002/ecy.2806 , Open Access version : https://archimer.ifremer.fr/doc/00504/61558/