Title of Talk: Rewilding the Amazon: a Counterpoint to Historical Ecology
Speaker: Robert Langstroth, PhD
Date: July 10, 2015
Time: Refreshments 6:45 pm Lecture 7:15 pm
Academic and popular visions of the nature and people in Amazonia have undergone dramatic transformations over the past 50 years. From a pristine wilderness inhabited by noble savages to an inhospitable Counterfeit Paradise where culture is limited by environmental constraints to a Domesticated Landscape engineered and managed by high densities of pre-Columbian peoples, the relative roles of people and nature in shaping the landscape, biodiversity, and culture have changed radically as new archaeological and paleo-environmental data have been uncovered. Based largely on work in the Llanos de Moxos savannas of Amazonian Bolivia, geographer Robert Langstroth has perspectives on Amazonia very different from those of archaeologists working in the area. Dr. Langstroth will discuss recent developments and insights that suggest that the extent of landscape transformation and significantly. The anthropogenic environments and biodiversity may be much more limited than popularized by proponents of Historical Ecology, over the past decade.
Dr. Robert Langstroth is a Neotropical biogeographer with a PhD in People-Environment Geography from the University of Wisconsin where he studied under William Denevan and researched the origins and ecology of forest islands in the Llanos de Moxos savannas of Amazonian Bolivia. He has been travelling and studying people-environment interactions in Amazonia, the Altiplano, and other regions of South America since 1979. He is also a specialist in South American reptiles and amphibians with a focus on Liolaemus lizards. Since 2001, Dr. Langstroth has worked as an international environmental consultant with a focus on Latin America and projects financed by the International Finance Corporation, the Inter-American Development Bank, and Equator Principles Financial Institutions. He currently is Technical Director at ERM in Washington, DC.