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  Drivers and trajectories of land cover change in East Africa: human and environmental interactions from 6000 years ago to present

Marchant, R., Richer, S., Boles, O., Capitani, C., Courtney-Mustaphi, C. J., Lane, P., et al. (2018). Drivers and trajectories of land cover change in East Africa: human and environmental interactions from 6000 years ago to present. Earth-Science Reviews, 178, 322-378. doi:10.1016/j.earscirev.2017.12.010.

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Marchant, Rob, Author
Richer, Suzi, Author
Boles, Oliver, Author
Capitani, Claudia, Author
Courtney-Mustaphi, Colin J., Author
Lane, Paul, Author
Prendergast, Mary E., Author
Stump, Daryl, Author
Cort, Gijs De, Author
Kaplan, Jed O.1, Author           
Phelps, Leanne, Author
Kay, Andrea, Author
Olago, Dan, Author
Petek, Nik, Author
Platts, Philip J., Author
Punwong, Paramita, Author
Widgren, Mats, Author
Wynne-Jones, Stephanie, Author
Ferro-Vázquez, Cruz, Author
Benard, Jacquiline, Author
Boivin, Nicole L.1, Author           Crowther, Alison1, Author           Cuní-Sanchez, Aida, AuthorDeere, Nicolas J., AuthorEkblom, Anneli, AuthorFarmer, Jennifer, AuthorFinch, Jemma, AuthorFuller, Dorian, AuthorGaillard-Lemdahl, Marie-José, AuthorGillson, Lindsey, AuthorGithumbi, Esther, AuthorKabora, Tabitha, AuthorKariuki, Rebecca, AuthorKinyanjui, Rahab, AuthorKyazike, Elizabeth, AuthorLang, Carol, AuthorLejju, Julius, AuthorMorrison, Kathleen D., AuthorMuiruri, Veronica, AuthorMumbi, Cassian, AuthorMuthoni, Rebecca, AuthorMuzuka, Alfred, AuthorNdiema, Emmanuel, AuthorNzabandora, Chantal Kabonyi, AuthorOnjala, Isaya, AuthorSchrijver, Annemiek Pas, AuthorRucina, Stephen, AuthorShoemaker, Anna, AuthorThornton-Barnett, Senna, Authorvan der Plas, Geert, AuthorWatson, Elizabeth E., AuthorWilliamson, David, AuthorWright, David, Author more..
1Archaeology, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Max Planck Society, ou_2074312              


Free keywords: Archaeology, Iron technology, Pottery, Pastoralism, Agriculture, Livelihoods, Palaeoenvironments, Savannah, LandCover6k, Sustainable Development Goals, Land use
 Abstract: East African landscapes today are the result of the cumulative effects of climate and land-use change over millennial timescales. In this review, we compile archaeological and palaeoenvironmental data from East Africa to document land-cover change, and environmental, subsistence and land-use transitions, over the past 6000 years. Throughout East Africa there have been a series of relatively rapid and high-magnitude environmental shifts characterised by changing hydrological budgets during the mid- to late Holocene. For example, pronounced environmental shifts that manifested as a marked change in the rainfall amount or seasonality and subsequent hydrological budget throughout East Africa occurred around 4000, 800 and 300 radiocarbon years before present (yr BP). The past 6000 years have also seen numerous shifts in human interactions with East African ecologies. From the mid-Holocene, land use has both diversified and increased exponentially, this has been associated with the arrival of new subsistence systems, crops, migrants and technologies, all giving rise to a sequence of significant phases of land-cover change. The first large-scale human influences began to occur around 4000 yr BP, associated with the introduction of domesticated livestock and the expansion of pastoral communities. The first widespread and intensive forest clearances were associated with the arrival of iron-using early farming communities around 2500 yr BP, particularly in productive and easily-cleared mid-altitudinal areas. Extensive and pervasive land-cover change has been associated with population growth, immigration and movement of people. The expansion of trading routes between the interior and the coast, starting around 1300 years ago and intensifying in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries CE, was one such process. These caravan routes possibly acted as conduits for spreading New World crops such as maize (Zea mays), tobacco (Nicotiana spp.) and tomatoes (Solanum lycopersicum), although the processes and timings of their introductions remains poorly documented. The introduction of southeast Asian domesticates, especially banana (Musa spp.), rice (Oryza spp.), taro (Colocasia esculenta), and chicken (Gallus gallus), via transoceanic biological transfers around and across the Indian Ocean, from at least around 1300 yr BP, and potentially significantly earlier, also had profound social and ecological consequences across parts of the region. Through an interdisciplinary synthesis of information and metadatasets, we explore the different drivers and directions of changes in land-cover, and the associated environmental histories and interactions with various cultures, technologies, and subsistence strategies through time and across space in East Africa. This review suggests topics for targeted future research that focus on areas and/or time periods where our understanding of the interactions between people, the environment and land-cover change are most contentious and/or poorly resolved. The review also offers a perspective on how knowledge of regional land-use change can be used to inform and provide perspectives on contemporary issues such as climate and ecosystem change models, conservation strategies, and the achievement of nature-based solutions for development purposes.


Language(s): eng - English
 Dates: 2018-01-062018-03
 Publication Status: Issued
 Pages: 57
 Publishing info: -
 Table of Contents: -
 Rev. Type: Peer
 Identifiers: DOI: 10.1016/j.earscirev.2017.12.010
Other: shh2419
 Degree: -



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Title: Earth-Science Reviews
  Other : Earth-Sci. Rev.
Source Genre: Journal
Publ. Info: Elsevier
Pages: - Volume / Issue: 178 Sequence Number: - Start / End Page: 322 - 378 Identifier: ISSN: 0012-8252
CoNE: https://pure.mpg.de/cone/journals/resource/954925395407