Pacific Science, Volume 63, Number 4, 2009

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    Epilogue: Changing Archaeological Perspectives upon Historical Ecology in the Pacific Islands.
    (Honolulu, University of Hawaii Press, 2009-10) Anderson, Atholl
    Late-twentieth-century archaeological perspectives upon historical ecology in the Pacific islands emphasized anthropogenic impacts documented particularly in studies of vegetation change and deforestation, and the depletionor extinction of native faunas. More complex views of cultural-environmental relationships are now emerging. Biological invasions are seen as occurring more variably than in the transported landscapes model, simplistic narratives of cultural collapse are shown as only partly in agreement with relevant data, and models of behavioral ecology are argued as insufficient to explain long-term trajectories of ecological change. More influential roles are being proposed for climatic and demographic factors and cultural agency in ecological relations.
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    Impact of Human Colonization on the Landscape: A View from the Western Pacific.
    (Honolulu, University of Hawaii Press, 2009-10) Summerhayes, Glenn R. ; Leavesley, Matthew ; Fairbairn, Andy
    In this paper we review and assess the impact of colonizing peoples on their landscape by focusing on two very different colonizing processes within the western Pacific. The first is the initial human colonization of New Guinea 45,000–40,000 years ago by hunter-foraging populations; the second is the colonization of smaller offshore islands of the Bismarck Archipelago, some 3,300 years ago, by peoples argued to have practiced agriculture: two different colonizing processes by two different groups of peoples with two different social structures practicing two very different subsistence strategies. The impact of these two colonization processes on the environment is compared and contrasted, and commonalities identified for the archaeological and vegetation record.
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    Fishing up the Food Web?: 12,000 Years of Maritime Subsistence and Adaptive Adjustments on California’s Channel Islands.
    (Honolulu, University of Hawaii Press, 2009-10) Erlandson, Jon M. ; Rick, Torben C. ; Braje, Todd J.
    Archaeologists working on California’s northern Channel Islands have produced an essentially continuous record of Native American fishing and nearshore ecological changes spanning the last 12,000 years. To search for evidence of Pauly’s ‘‘fishing down the foodweb’’ pattern typical of recent historical fisheries, we analyzed variation in the dietary importance of major marine faunal classes (shellfish, fish, marine mammals) on the islands through time. Faunal data suggest that the Island Chumash and their predecessors focused primarily on low-trophic-level shellfish during the Early and Middle Holocene, before shifting their economic focus to finfish and pinnipeds during the Late Holocene. Replicated in faunal sequences from the adjacent mainland, this trans-Holocene pattern suggests that Native Americans fished up the food web, a strategy that may have been more sustainable and had fewer ecological repercussions. Emerging technological data suggest, however, that some of the earliest Channel Islanders focused more heavily on higher-trophic-level animals, including marine mammals, seabirds, and waterfowl. These data emphasize the differences between the primarily subsistence-based foraging strategies of ancient Channel Islanders and the globalized market-based fisheries of modern and historic times, with important implications for understanding the longterm evolution and historical ecology of marine ecosystems.
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    An Introduction to the Biocomplexity of Sanak Island, Western Gulf of Alaska.
    (Honolulu, University of Hawaii Press, 2009-10) Maschner, Herbert D.G. ; Betts, Matthew W. ; Cornell, Joseph ; Dunne, Jennifer A. ; Finney, Bruce ; Huntly, Nancy ; Jordan, James W. ; King, Aaron A. ; Misarti, Nicole ; Reedy-Maschner, Katherine L. ; Russell, Roland ; Tews, Amber ; Wood, Spencer A. ; Benson, Buck
    The Sanak Biocomplexity Project is a transdisciplinary research effort focused on a small island archipelago 50 km south of the Alaska Peninsula in the western Gulf of Alaska. This team of archaeologists, terrestrial ecologists, social anthropologists, intertidal ecologists, geologists, oceanographers, paleoecologists, and modelers is seeking to understanding the role of the ancient, historic, and modern Aleut in the structure and functioning of local and regional ecosystems. Using techniques ranging from systematic surveys to stable isotope chemistry, long-term shifts in social dynamics and ecosystem structure are present in the context of changing climatic regimes and human impacts. This paper presents a summary of a range of our preliminary findings.
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    ‘‘Good Water and Firewood’’: The Island Oasis of Isla Cedros, Baja California, Mexico.
    (Honolulu, University of Hawaii Press, 2009-10) Des Lauriers, Matthew R.
    Today, Isla Cedros is remote from major population centers of northwestern Mexico and the American Southwest, but before European contact and throughout the Colonial Period, it was a well-known location to both indigenous peoples and Europeans. Today, a local fishing cooperative shares the island with a massive Mitsubishi Corporation/Mexican government–owned salttransshipment facility. Far from representing a cautionary tale of excessive development and environmental degradation, Isla Cedros is one of the few places on the globe where human harvesting of marine resources has not yet resulted in an ecological collapse. It is a place where paradoxes abound and allows an alternative view of human interaction with marine and insular ecosystems. Both short- and long-term environmental variation characterizes this ecologically transitional region, and the adaptability of both its human and nonhuman inhabitants presents insights into the possibility of a ‘‘commons’’ without tragedy. Issues of exclusive use rights, short-periodicity variation, localized effects on resources due to sea-level rise, and sustainable socioeconomic systems can be addressed in an examination of Isla Cedros, Huamalgua, the Island of Fogs. This island setting presents us with challenges to many underexamined assumptions. In essence, it refuses easy categorization, instead offering at least some alternative perspectives for future historical ecological research of broad relevance to coastal and island settings worldwide.