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Imperfect Balance: Landscape Transformations in the Precolumbian Americas Paperback – September 15, 2000


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Imperfect Balance: Landscape Transformations in the Precolumbian Americas + 1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 547 pages
  • Publisher: Columbia University Press; 1st edition (September 15, 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0231111576
  • ISBN-13: 978-0231111577
  • Product Dimensions: 1.2 x 7 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,915,375 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

The combination of articles and examples in [this] book is able to draw a picture of pre-Columbians as integral and influential parts and components of the landscape. The volume brings together natural scientists, archaeologists, and cultural ecologists to investigate the interaction between natural systems and human intervention. Such a combination is rarely seen in this comprehensive manner. -- Review

About the Author

David Lentz is director of the graduate studies program at The New York Botanical Garden. He is the author or coauthor of and contributor to more than fifty scholarly articles and books.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By E. N. Anderson VINE VOICE on January 8, 2001
Format: Paperback
This book draws together a huge range of data on Native American plant and animal use and environmental management in pre-Columbian times. The chapters are by leading authorities, and are comprehensive enough to inform the scholar, while well-written and accessible enough to be valuable to the beginning student. In recent years, publishers have given us a plethora of badly informed books on traditional Native American resource management. Most of them either portray Native Americans as ecological saints or as wasteful destroyers. To such works, the present book is an ideal antidote. It discusses the major known cases in which Native American cultures intensively modified the landscape to produce highly productive, long-sustained agricultural systems. The authors wisely refrain from pontificating on the saint vs. savage issue, but the implication is clear: Native American land management systems were highly diverse but usually sustainable, at least in the medium term, and often exceedingly complex and sophisticated. Notable and very valuable are chapters reviewing the natural vegetation of each region. These not only provide necessary background for the specific case studies; they are also wonderful review articles in their own right. In particular, the chapters on South America bring together materials previously accessible only through many scattered sources in several languages. This book is an absolute "must read" for ecological anthropologists and ethnobiologists. It seems to me to be only slightly less indispensable for ecologists, environmentalists, and environmental historians. On the whole, the book is not action-oriented; it provides data, not applications. Charles Peters' chapter is a welcome exception.Read more ›
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By Bearrica Danger on April 9, 2015
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Readable for a textbook.
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