Faculty Book: Michael J. Balick
D. A. Posey and Michael J. Balick, eds.
Human Impacts on Amazonia: The Role of Traditional Ecological Knowledge in Conservation and Development
(Columbia University Press, 2006)
Edited by ethnobotanists Darrell Addison Posey and the Botanical Garden's own Michael J. Balick and featuring essays by environmental scientists, botanists, and anthropologists, this volume explores historic and contemporary visions of Amazonia and the effects of human development in the region. The collection reveals the long history of cultural and biological destruction in the Amazonian ecosystem, particularly by outsiders. The contributors argue that by protecting and drawing upon local knowledge and values, further environmental ruin can be avoided. Standing in stark contrast to the environmental exploitation practiced by outside interests, native Amazonians have successfully utilized and conserved the land around them, from the pre-Columbian era to the present. The unmistakable imprint of these indigenous inhabitants is reflected in the forests, savannas, hills, and streams of the Amazon Basin, which for them serve as homes, gardens, and hunting reserves, as well as spiritual and sacred spaces. Michael Balick is Vice President for Botanical Science, Director and Philecology Curator, at the Institute of Economic Botany, The New York Botanical Garden and an adjunct professor of biology at the Graduate Center.
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Submitted on: JUN 20, 2006