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Persistent effects of pre-Columbian plant domestication on Amazonian forest composition


Carolina Levis


Frans Bongers


Charles R. Clement


Eduardo G. Neves

Eduardo K. Tamanaha

Fernando O.G. Figueiredo

Rafael P.

Carolina V. Castilho

William E. Magnusson

Oliver L. Phillips

Juan Ernesto Guevara

Daniel Sabatier



Abel Monteagudo Mendoza

Nigel C.A. Pitman

Alvaro Duque


Charles Eugene Zartman

Rodolfo Vasquez

Ana Andrade


Ted R. Feldpausch

Susan G.W. Laurance

William F. Laurance

Timothy J. Killeen

Henrique Eduardo

Juan Carlos Montero

Bonifacio Mostacedo

Hans ter Steege


The extent to which pre-Columbian societies altered Amazonian landscapes is hotly debated. We performed a basin-wide analysis of pre-Columbian impacts on Amazonian forests by overlaying known archaeological sites in Amazonia with the distributions and abundances of 85 woody species domesticated by pre-Columbian peoples. Domesticated species are five times more likely to be hyperdominant than non-domesticated species. Across the basin the relative abundance and richness of domesticated species increases in forests on and around archaeological sites. In southwestern and eastern Amazonia distance to archaeological sites strongly influences the relative abundance and richness of domesticated species. Our analyses indicate that modern tree communities in Amazonia are structured to an important extent by a long history of plant domestication by Amazonian peoples.


Levis, C., Costa, F. R., Bongers, F., Peña-Claros, M., Clement, C. R., Junqueira, A. B., …ter Steege, H. (2017). Persistent effects of pre-Columbian plant domestication on Amazonian forest composition. Science, 355(6328), 925-931.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Jan 25, 2017
Publication Date Mar 3, 2017
Deposit Date Mar 3, 2017
Publicly Available Date Sep 4, 2017
Journal Science
Print ISSN 0036-8075
Electronic ISSN 1095-9203
Publisher American Association for the Advancement of Science
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 355
Issue 6328
Pages 925-931
Public URL
Publisher URL
Additional Information This is the author’s version of the work. It is posted here by permission of the AAAS for personal use, not for redistribution. The definitive version was published in Science on 3rd of March, vol. 355, no. 6328, p. 925-931

94 authors in total


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