|Amazonia: Resiliency and Dynamism of the Land and Its People (UNU, 1995, 253 pages)|
|2. Environmental threats|
The myth of virginity
The environmental impact of smoke
Soil erosion and floods
The environmental impacts of mining
A blizzard of cocaine
Habitat destruction and the loss of biodiversity
Amazonia has a long history of ecological change under human agency. Hunters and gatherers probably penetrated the region tens of thousands of years ago and artificially enriched their campsites with fruit and nut trees (Smith in press). Hunters undoubtedly fired woody savannas in Amazonia, such as in Roraima, to flush game long before farmers started to clear the forest.
Slash-and-burn farming in Amazonia probably began at least 10,000 years ago, based mostly on root crops, thereby creating a rich texture of forest interlaced with second-growth communities of various heights and ages. At first, such interventions were on a minor scale, but, as the population grew denser, more and more of the forest fell to the axe.