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The Lost Woodlands of Ancient NascaA Case-study in Ecological and Cultural Collapse$
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David Beresford-Jones

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780197264768

Published to British Academy Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.5871/bacad/9780197264768.001.0001

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The Sonoran Desert: An Ethnoecological Analogue?

The Sonoran Desert: An Ethnoecological Analogue?

(p.183) 9. The Sonoran Desert: An Ethnoecological Analogue?
The Lost Woodlands of Ancient Nasca

David Beresford-Jones

British Academy

The relationship between humans and the genus Prosopis in the arid lands of the New World is almost as ancient as human occupation itself. This chapter explores this in one particular part of these American drylands: the Sonoran Desert of the south-western United States or, to be more specific, within the riparian basins of the Salt and Gila rivers of that desert. For here, a more recent human ecology offers an analogue for the far deeper time-depths of the Peruvian south coast. In the Sonoran, and elsewhere in the United States, several species of section Algarobia of the Prosopis genus are known collectively as ‘mesquite’. Mesquite is the one of the most common plants along the washes of North American arid lands and was a vital resource for its peoples.

Keywords:   Prosopis, riparian basins, Sonoran Desert, arid lands, human ecology, mesquite

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