Is there solid evidence of widespread landscape disturbance in the Azores before the arrival of the Portuguese?

  • Articles in SCI Journals
  • Jan, 2022

Elias, R.B., Connor, S.E., Góis-Marques, C.A., Schaefer, H., Silva, L., Sequeira, M.M., Moura, M., Borges, P.A.V. & Gabriel, R. (2022) Is there solid evidence of widespread landscape disturbance in the Azores before the arrival of the Portuguese?

PNAS - Proceedings of The National Academy of Sciences of The United States of America, 119, e2119218119. DOI:10.1073/pnas.2119218119 (IF2020 11,205; Q1 Multidisciplinary Sciences)
Summary:

We analyzed the evidence interpreted as profound changes of human origin, prior to Portuguese colonization and call into question the conclusions presented by Raposeiro et al. 2021. This analysis and reinterpretation is supported by multiple data sources, including data presented by Raposeiro et al. 2021; similar studies previously carried out on the islands of Flores and Pico, which provide no evidence of earlier settlements; numerous historical descriptions of untouched forests on several islands of the archipelago at the time of Portuguese arrival; and, finally, the absence of archaeological evidence for widespread human occupation prior to Portuguese settlement. Based on the available information, not denying the possibility of previous human presence, we argue that there is no solid evidence to support the existence of large-scale anthropogenic disturbances caused by pre-Portuguese settlers. There are also no reasons to deny Portuguese historical records that the islands were covered by dense natural forests in the 15th century. Not merely an academic question, the assumption of extensive human impact on the Azores, from as early as the eighth century, may lead to a decrease in current conservation efforts to preserve endemic species and unique habitats.


https://www.pnas.org/content/119/4/e2119218119

Team

  • Is there solid evidence of widespread landscape disturbance in the Azores before the arrival of the Portuguese? Paulo A. V. Borges Island Arthropod Macroecology
  • Is there solid evidence of widespread landscape disturbance in the Azores before the arrival of the Portuguese? Rosalina Maria de Almeida Gabriel Island Bryophytes
  • Is there solid evidence of widespread landscape disturbance in the Azores before the arrival of the Portuguese? Rui Miguel Pires Bento da Silva Elias Island Plant Ecology