Ancient Amazon farming methods offer lessons for rainforest conservation, scientists say

Ancient peoples sustainably farmed the Amazon more than four millennia ago, according to a new study by researchers from Britain’s University of Exeter. The paper, recently published in Nature Plants, provides a glimpse into past practices that could offer solutions to deforestation for today.

A multidisciplinary, international team carried out their study in the Brazilian Amazon, near the confluence of the Amazonas and Tapajos rivers. The region supported sizeable populations throughout the pre-Colombian era and is now the location of many archeological sites. The main research focus was a shallow lake, archeological soil profiles, and botanical surveys in the Floresta Nacional do Tapajós, a swathe of rainforest of just over 500,000 hectares, protected since 1974.

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