Past perspectives for the future: foundations for sustainable development in East Africa
2014 (English)In: Journal of Archaeological Science, ISSN 0305-4403, E-ISSN 1095-9238, Vol. 51, 12-21 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
East African ecosystems are shaped by long-term interactions with a dynamic climate and increasing human interventions. Whereas in the past the latter have often been regarded solely in a negative light, more recent research from the perspective of historical ecology has shown that there has often been a strong beneficial connection between people and ecosystems in East Africa. These relationships are now being strained by the rapidly developing and growing population, and their associated resource needs. Predicted future climatic and atmospheric change will further impact on human-ecosystem relationships culminating in a host of challenges for their management and sustainable development, compounded by a backdrop of governance, land tenure and economic constraints. Understanding how ecosystem-human interactions have changed over time and space can only be derived from combining archaeological, historical and palaeoecological data. Although crucial gaps remain, the number and resolution of these important archives from East Africa is growing rapidly, and the application of new techniques and proxies is allowing a more comprehensive understanding of past ecosystem response to climate change to be developed. When used in conjunction it is possible to disentangle human from climate change impacts, and assess how the former interacts with major environmental changes such as increased use offire, changing herbivore densities and increased atmospheric CO2 concentration. With forecasted environmental change it is imperative that our understanding of past human-ecosystem interactions is queried to impart effective long term conservation and land use management strategies. Such an approach, that has its foundation in the long term, will enhance possibilities for a sustainable future for East African ecosystems and maximise the livelihoods of the populations that rely on them.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2014. Vol. 51, 12-21 p.
Archaeology, Climate change, Ecosystem services, Future Earth, Historical ecology, Palaeoecology, Resilience
Research subject Earth Science with specialization in Environmental Analysis; Archaeology
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-270154DOI: 10.1016/j.jas.2013.07.005OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-270154DiVA: diva2:886121