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Anthropology, Space, and Geographic Information Systems

Spatial Information Series

General Editors

M. F. Goodchild P. A.Burrough R. McDonnell P.Switzer

Anthropology, Space, and Geographic Information Systems

Mark Aldenderfer Herbert D. G.Maschner

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1996

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Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Anthropology, space and geographic information systems / Mark Aldenderfer, Herbert D. G. Maschner.

[edited by]

p cm. — (Spatial informationsystems)

Papers from a conference held in Santa Barbara, January, 1992. Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 0-19-508575-2 (cloth)

1. Anthropology—Data processing—Congresses.

2. Cartography—

Data processing—Congresses.

3. Geographic information systems—

Congresses.

4. Spatial analysis (Statistics)—Congresses.

I. Aldenderfer, Mark S.

II. Maschner, Herbert D. G.

III. Series.

GN346.5.A57

1996

301'.0285—dc20

95-32350

3

5

7

9

8

6

4

2

Printed in the United States ofAmerica on acid-free paper

Preface

Although spatial thinking has long been a part of anthropological inquiry, it has waxed and waned in its perceived utility and centrality to the field. Much anthropological thought at the beginning of the twentieth century was con- cerned with the concept of diffusion and the definition of culture areas on a continental scale. Scholars—using material culture, kinship systems, house form, and social institutions, for example—attempted to identify centers of

diffusion and thus used the notion of spatial proximity to explain similarities and differences between cultures. Archaeologists of the era used similar con-

cepts to describe the distribution of material culture, and were concerned

tracing the movement of peoples or charting the origins of agriculture and the emergence of civilization. Anthropology and archaeology parted ways after 1940 in their thinking about the role of space in their fields. Anthropologists rejectedmost diffusionist theories and in their place began to develop new schools of thought and theories, few ofwhich integrated space and spatial thinking in a meaningful way into the research process. In one sense, anthropology turned inward and sought to demonstrate the roles of history, place, and locality as the primary means by which an understanding of human cultural diversity could be appreciated. Space thus became passive and sterile as an analytical concept. Archaeologists, however, maintained their in- terest in space, and in the 1950s, with the emergence of settlement archaeol- ogy, began to explore more sophisticatedwaysin which to employ spatialthink- ing and concepts. With the emergence ofthe "New Archaeology" in the 1960s and its emphasis on explanation, quantitative thinking, and a scientific per- spective on the past, archaeologists increasingly turned to other fields, notably geography, for tools and ideas for spatial analysis. Geographical information systems (GIS), as they became practical tools for spatial analysis in the early 1980s, were quickly seized upon by archaeologists, who immediately recog- nized their potential. Despite the inward turn of anthropological thought, significant subfields, such as development and ecological anthropology, managed to retain an ap- preciation of space and—independent of developments in archaeology—dis- covered the value of GIS and how it could help them achieve their own re- search goals. This became especially important for those scholars concerned with finding ways to integrate the results of traditional anthropological in- quiry, which tends to be small-scale and personal, with data obtained from research into regional-scale phenomena, such as deforestation. By the early 1990s, it became clear to many of us working with GIS that it

with

vi

Preface

was time sample the field, identify the areas of strength in the use of GIS within it, and demonstrate the value of GIS to our colleagues. To that end, a conference was held at the University of California (UCSB) in Santa Barbara in January 1992 entitled "The Anthropology of Human Behavior Through Geographic Information and Analysis:An International Conference." A total of 22 papers was presented. The papers in this volume are good representa- tives of the variety of issuesdiscussed in the conference.While it is clear that much remains to be done to demonstrate the utility of GIS to a broader anthropological audience, we feel these papers mark an important first step toward that goal. Many organizations and people were instrumental to the success of the conference and the appearanceof this volume.The National Center for Geo- graphic Information and Analysis (NCGIA), directed by Mike Goodchild, provided the most of the funding for the conference, and we are grateful for his support and encouragement. Staff members of NCGIA who cheerfully assisted us with the financial and other myriad details of running a complex conference were Judith Parker, Sandi Glendenning, Yasmina Mhemedi, and Carol Wasteneys; to each of them, we offer our thanks. We also owe a debt of gratitude to the Social Science Computing Facility (SSCF) at UCSB. Joan Murdoch, its director, allowed attendees of the conference access to E-mail and other computing services; further, she helped us overcome a variety of logistical and other problems. Other SSCF staff members who provided use- ful assistance were Chris Arnold and Jeff Stein. The UCSB Department of Anthropology also lent us a number of services: Dirk Brandts prepared con- ference brochures, whileBrianBillman, Pat Lambert, and Nelson Siefkin cheer- fully acted as chauffeurs and assistants. Thanks also go to Stephanie Golledge of the Department of Geography, who ran the slide projectors and supervised the audiovisual equipment used in the conference. This book could not have been assembled without the skills of Karen Doehner, who had the patience to deal with questions about page layout and graphic design from impatient and ignorant editors. Without her, in fact, we would still be trying to churn this manuscript out on our word processors. She was ably assisted at crucial moments by Dirk Brandts and John Kantner. We would also like to express our gratitude to the authors of these papers,who have exhibited remarkablepatience in the light of the difficult genesis of this volume.

Santa Barbara, Calif.

M. A.

January 1995

Madison, Wise.

H. M.

January 1995

1

Introduction

Mark

3

Aldenderfer

Contents

2

Land Degradationin the PeruvianAmazon: ApplyingGIS in Human Ecology Research 19 William M. Loker

3

The Use of GIS to Measure SpatialPatterns of Ethnic Firms in the Los Ange- les Garment Industry 44 Christopher G. Arnold and Richard P. Appelbaum

4

A Formal Justification for the Application of GIS to the Cultural Ecological

Analysis of Land-Use Intensification and Deforestation in the Amazon

55

Clifford

A. Behrens

5

Integrating Socioeconomic and Geographic Information Systems: AMethod-

ology for Rural Development and Agricultural Policy Design Susan Stonich

78

6

Empirical and Methodological Problems in Developing a GIS Database for Yanomano Tribesmen Located in Remote Areas 97 Ken McGwire, Napoleon A. Chagnon, and Charles Brewer Carias

7

A Time to Rend, A Time to Sew: New Perspectives on Northern Anasazi Sociopolitical Development in Late Prehistory 107 Carla Van West and Timothy A. Kohler

8

Moving from Catchments to Cognition: Tentative Steps Toward a Larger

Archaeological Context for GIS

132

Vincent Gaffney,

Zoran Stancic, and Helen Watson

viii

Contents

9

An Analysis of Late-Horizon Settlement Patterns in the Teotihuacan- Temascalapa Basins: A Location-Allocation and GIS-Based Approach 155 AmyJ. Ruggles and Richard L. Church

10

The Politics of Settlement Choice on the Northwest Coast: Cognition, GIS, and Coastal Landscapes 175 Herbert D. G. Maschner

11

The Role of GIS in the Management of Archaeological Data: An Example of

Application for the Spanish Administration

190

Conception Blasco Bosqued,Javier Baena Preysler, and Javier Expiago

12

The Role of GIS in the Interdisciplinary Investigations at Olorgesailie, Kenya, a Pleistocene Archaeological Locality 202 Richard Potts, Tom forstad, and Daniel Cole

13

Danebury Revisited: A English Iron Age Hillfort in a Digital Landscape 214 Gary R. Lock and Trevor M. Harris

14

Geographic Information Systems and SpatialAnalysisin the Social Sciences 241 Michael F. Goodchild

References

251

Contributors

Mark Aldenderfer

Department of Anthropology University of California-Santa Barbara

Richard P.Appelbaum

Department of Sociology University of California-Santa Barbara

Christopher G. Arnold

Department of Anthropology University of California-Santa Barbara

Javier Baena Preysler

Servicio de Cartograffa Universidad Autonoma de Madrid

Clifford A. Behrens

Information Sciences Research New Jersey

Concepcion BlascoBosqued

Servicio de Cartograffa Universidad Autonoma de Madrid

Charles Brewer Carias

Department of Anthropology University of California-Santa Barbara

Napoleon A. Chagnon

Department of Anthropology University of California-Santa Barbara

Richard L. Church

Department of Geography University of California-Santa Barbara

Daniel Cole

Department of Paleobiology Smithsonian Institution, Washington D.C.

Javier Espiago

Servicio de Cartografia Universidad Autonoma de Madrid

Vincent Gaffney

Department of Archaeology University of Reading

Michaeol F. Goodchild

Department of Geography University of California-Santa Barbara

Trevor M. Harris

Department of Geography University of West Virginia

Tom Jorstad

Department of Paleobiology Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.

Gary R. Lock

Institute of Archaeology University of Oxford

William M. Loker

Department of Sociology, Anthropology, and Social Work Mississippi State University

Herbert D. G. Maschner

Department of Anthropology University of Wisconsin-Madison

x

Contributors

Ken McGwire

Desert Research Institute University ofNevada

Richard Potts

Department of Paleobiology Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.

AmyJ. Ruggles

Department

of Geography

University of Iowa

Zoran Stancic

Scientific Research Centre of the Slovene Academy of Sciences and Art Slovenija

Susan Stonich

Department of Anthropology University of California-Santa Barbara

Helen Watson

Somerset

Great Britain

Carla Van West

Statistical Research, Inc. Tucson,Arizona

Anthropology, Space, and Geographic Information Systems

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1

Introduction

Mark Aldenderfer

Although spatial thinking has long been a part of anthropological inquiry, it has waxed and waned in its perceived utility and centrality to the field. Al- though the papers in this volume attest to a vigorous tradition of spatial think- ing in anthropology and further suggest that, for at least some branches of the field, spatial thinking and analysisare truly central to their definition andmis- sion, it is nevertheless clear that this has not always been the case. Further, despite differences in historical trajectories of development between the two major subfields of anthropology—cultural anthropology and archaeology 1 — in terms of the way space has been used, it is also clear that the two subfields share a number of common interests and themes that deserve discussion and exploration. This exploration is not only interesting from a purely historical perspective, but also has a very practical, down-to-earth dimension. The lit- erature on the history of science is replete with cases of communication fail- ures both within and between scientific disciplines.While in manycases this is 'merely annoying (different terms used to describe the same procedure, for instance), there are occasions when these failures lead to the creation of a highly idiosyncratic jargon used by small cliques of investigators, which clearly offers the opportunity to inhibit scholarly communication. This, in turn, can lead to redundancy of effort, failure to learn from the mistakes of others, and wasted time and money. By providing a forum in which similarities and differ- ences can be examined, the natural tendency of scientific disciplines to form these cliques can be overcome. I intend this paper to be such a forum for an exploration of the ways in which geographic information systems (GIS) have been employed by anthro- pologists and archaeologists as represented by the authors of the papers pre- sented in this volume. I will briefly describe the GIS for those readers unfa- miliar with it and then turn to a review of the history of spatial thinking and the kinds of tools used to implement this thinking for each of the subdisci- plines. Following this, I will turn to a discussion of the themes of the use of GIS common to both. My hope is that the reader will not only gain a deeper insight into the range of practice in the fields but also become aware of the very significant points of contact they share. In this way, anthropologists and others who wish to use the outcomes of anthropological research can avoid, insofar as that is possible, the formation of cliques of users that can further fragment an already very disparate field. I also hope to show that the use of

4

Anthropology, Space, and Geographic Information Systems

GIS in anthropology is currently very strong and that future prospects for its continued development are bright.

Geographic Information Systems

A GIS is a sophisticated database management system designed for the acqui-

sition, manipulation, visualization, management, and display of spatially ref- erenced (or geographic) data. 2 The GIS has its origins in computer-assisted mapping software developed during the 1970s, but it has evolved substantially from these roots, particularlythrough its emphasis on expanded analyticalca- pabilities, the capacity to accept awide range of data types asinput (i.e., satel- lite imagery, standard aerial photographs, and digitized maps), and its ability to generate new information through queries to a variety of sophisticated databases. Although some GIS packages can be used on desktop comput- ers, the full capabilities of a GIS are best exploited using work stations or minicomputers. In a GIS, data are represented as layers or themes, with each layer being a specific natural, cultural, or derived variable, broadly defined, that describes the environment within the context of the problem under study . The infor- mation within each of these layers can be represented in either of two distinct

formats: rasters, in which data are aggregated into a grid of cells, or vectors, in which data are represented by combinations of lines, points, and polygons. Each scheme has strengths and weaknesses. Raster systems are used frequently

to

represent environmental data layers, and they have had a long history of use

in

GIS applications in which remotely sensed data have been important. Since

cells are aggregates, there is a loss of accuracy in the way in which the grid describes the data layer in question; further, there maybe problems with reso- lution and description if an inappropriate grid size is used to represent a data layer. However, raster systems are well suited to modeling, analysis, and dis- play, since data layers can be easilyoverlain to discern patterning. Vector sys- tems, in contrast, are valuable when accuracy in the representation of a data layer is required. They are ideally suited for the production of high-quality maps or certain data themes such as property or political boundaries, net- works (streams, roads, etc.), and similar features. Which of these two approaches will be used in a particular project depends primarily upon the goals of the research. This acknowledges that the GIS, therefore, is properly viewed a tool, albeit avery powerful one, for the analysis of spatial data. This recognition in no way should be seen as identifying the GIS as "just" a tool; instead, it provides a basis for using the tool in the most efficacious manner. Marble (1990:14-17) has discussedthis concept at length and has argued that the GIS ispreciselythe tool those with spatial data need to define new problems, open new research horizons, and integrate, in a way not seen before in the social sciences,an informed spatial perspective.

Introduction

5

A Little History

Much anthropological thought at the end ofthe nineteenth and the beginning of the twentieth century was concerned with the concept of diffusion and the definition of culture areas on a continental scale. Scholars—using material culture, kinship systems, house form, and social institutions, for example— attempted to identify centers of diffusion of these and other traits and thus used the concept of spatial proximity to explain similarities and differences between cultures. In great part, the region in which such diffusions took place was simply assumed to be isotropic, and the rate of diffusion was held to be relatively unconstrained by the reality of physical space. In the United States, diffusionist thought was associated with the culture area concept, which was an attempt to map out the distribution of ethnic groups defined by language or similarities of material culture in some geographicly defined space. Inter- estingly, these regions could be scaled in size depending on the problem of interest. The anthropologist Alfred Kroeber, in his book Cultural and Natural Areas of Native North America (1939), listed large areas such as California, the Eastern Woodlands, and the Great Plains. His goal wasto look at variation in Native American culture on a continental scale; thus, regions were large and the data used to construct these regions were relatively coarse. At a smaller scale, Gifford and Kroeber (1937) studied variation in material culture within the "Porno culture area," a region within the larger "California" culture area. Here, scale was measured in tens of miles, and very detailed lists of overlapping sets of material culture were generated. The data, then, were relatively fine-grained. The tools used to manipulatethese datawere fairly simple and consisted of maps, map overlays, and tables (labeled as culture element distribution lists) that contained data on some cultural trait (hunting technology, clothing style, etc.) cross-classifiedby the trait's presence or absence in the ethnic groups said to inhabit the culture area under study. Data were tabulated by hand and plot- ted on maps. While these data could have been portrayed as contour maps of trait frequencies, described by fall-off curves in simple gravity models or some other quantitative convention, substance wasalmost alwaysdeemed more im- portant than a focus upon method. 3 The European experience was focused upon the notion of the Kulturkriese, or "culture circles," which were defined as large sets of traits spread across vast geographic spaces. The concept had its origin in the German school of anthropogeography, and its main emphasis was upon the distribution of mate- rial traits such as the details of bow and arrow manufacture and other, simple cultural traits (Harris 1968: 373, 382-383). The spatial extent of these circles could be vast; in one instance,similarities in material culture were observed in Melanesia, Indonesia, and West Africa and were thus includedin asingle circle (Ratzel 1896). Refinements in this theory led to the development of circles of smaller spatial scales. Schmidt (1939), for example, defined three levels of circles—primary, secondary, and tertiary—and within each there were several smaller-scale circles. The approach to developing these circles was very simi-

6

Anthropology, Space, and Geographic Information

Systems

lar to how American anthropologists built their culture areas—cross-clas- sified trait lists, usually based upon aspects of material culture, were con- structed, and distributions of these traits were then plotted on maps and affinities assessed. Archaeologists of the era were engaged in similar enterprises. While much archaeological work of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries fo- cused upon the excavation of single sites deemed of major importance to the cultural history of some region, there was nevertheless considerable interest in delineating patterns of the diffusion of cultural traits, albeit in this instance in prehistory. Perhaps the most famous of these diffusionist approacheswas by V. Gordon Childe, who wrote two very influential books, The Dawn of Euro- pean Civilization (1925) and The Danube in Prehistory,(1929). Diffusionist thought had always been very strong in archaeology, but in these books Childe very carefully reviewed the empirical data for the spread of civilization from the core area of the ancient Near East. As Renfrew and Bahn (1991: 32) note, diffusionist ideas were part of a broader trend in archaeology that sought to classify and consolidate knowledge of the past. What this meant in practice was the definition of artifact types, primarilyupon some stylistic grounds, fol- lowed by an examination of their spatial distribution. In Europe, this led to the definition of entities called "archaeological cultures" (Shennan 1974), and, in North America, depending on the system used, they were labeled as foci, traditions, or phases.Both the archaeologicalculture and the phase, two of the most successful and durable products of this epoch of consolidation, have a spatial and temporal definition in addition to their cultural content. That is, they are found within regions within a limited temporal frame. In this sense, they are not dissimilar from culture areas; in general, they tend to be defined in precisely the same manner, but with explicit concern with time. Thus ar- chaeological materials are recovered from a series of sites in a region, and their contents are compared within discrete segments of time. The regional distribution of artifact types as found at sites is identified, and thus a spatial boundary for the phase is established. The data used to construct these enti- ties are wholly concerned with some form of material culture. They are com- bined into trait lists, and their spatial distribution is plotted onto maps and map overlays. While criticized, this method of defining spatiotemporal cul- tural boundaries is still used in this manner today. During the 1930s and 1940s, however, anthropology as a discipline rejected most diffusionist theories for their obvious explanatory inadequacies. It was heavily criticized from more historically focused viewpoints of culture as well as a reemergent emphasis on evolutionary explanations for observed patterns of cultural similarity or difference. Some of these new schools, though, de- spite potential improvements in explanatorypotential, did not integrate space and spatial thinking in a meaningful way into the research process. In one sense, anthropology turned inward and sought to demonstrate the roles of history, place,and locality as the primarymeansby which an understandingof human culturaldiversity could be appreciated.Space thus becamepassive and sterile as an analytical concept.Anthropological concernswere typicallysmall-

Introduction

7

scale, and most field methodologies emphasized the development of styles of face-to-face interaction, such asparticipantobservation. Samplesof informants were generally small, and the anthropologist could easily integrate these ma- terials into a report, paper, or synthesis. The spatial scale was the village, or perhaps a set of villages, in a small area.While there was implicit recognition of the broader world or region, the "outside" was dealt with when necessary but was not frequently a focus of research effort. Consequently, the analytical tools used to deal with these limited spatial domains were likewise simple. Some areas within anthropology, however, maintained their interest in spa- tial phenomena; in great part, these developments have led to the adoption of the GIS as a major tool in anthropological research. Schorr (1974: 166-168) has described how the use of aerial photography helped to maintain a practical interest in larger-scale spatial phenomena in anthropological research. While archaeologists were the first to use aerial photography extensively following its successful application to military intelligence in World War I (Schorr 1974:

163-165; Deuel 1969), ethnographers were slow to adopt it. Much of this delay can be attributed to a genuine lack of a theoretical perspective that val- ued spatial data. As I noted above, space per se was only a field of action, and when recognized, it was only at a small scale. However, from the combined stimuli of cultural geography, the sociological analysis of rural phenomena, particularly agricultural systems, and the eventual emergence of arobust theory of ecological (or materialist) anthropology, a consideration of spacewas rein- tegrated into anthropological thought. As Schorr (1974: 167) relates, John Rowe, who would eventually turn to archaeology, was the first American anthropologist who turned to the systematic use of aerial photography as an aid to ethnographic research. Rowe used it to get regional scale data on settlement patterns, land tenure, house types, cultivation cycles, and other data (Rowe 1953).

The importance of the development of a theory of ecological anthropology

and its influence upon the reemergence of spatial thinking in anthropology and archaeology cannot be underestimated. Although much of the effort in creating a robust ecological theory in anthropology was directed at establish- ing causal linkages to demonstrate how humans adaptto their environments, a key element of ecological anthropology was to adopt the ecosystem concept. Ecosystems, of course, are spatially referenced, and clearly, human activity within them varies at least in part as a consequence of spatial and temporal variation in energy availability and how it flows through the system. Julian Steward (1938) was responsible for the early development of an ecological approach to anthropology through his meticulous reconstructions of settle- ment patterns and environment of the Great Basin Shoshone in the American West. As his approach was adopted and modified by others, the concept of spatial variation in environmental potential and the way it affected human utilization was carried into other regions and problems. For example, Conklin (1957, 1967), one of the pioneers in the use of aerial photography as an aid to the study of agriculturalsystems, particularlyin the Philippines, was also in- strumental in developing a variant of ecological anthropology.

8

Anthropology, Space, and Geographic Information Systems

Despite the reintroduction of space into the research process, the spatial scale of research remained relatively small, and further, although aerial pho- tography became more commonly used as an adjunct to field research, no other significant spatially based methods or techniques were adopted by most anthropologists working within this ecological paradigm. Maps and map over- lays, as augmented by photography, remained valuable and were used prima- rily as visual aids or iconic devices rather than as data themselves. Thus while the settlement pattern within a region might be plotted as a map overlay on a vegetation map, for example, aside from the demonstration of spatial propin- quity, there was generally no more sophisticated use of spatially referenced data in the research process. Many of the most successful case studies of eco- logical anthropology havebeen described as"microlevel" studies (Moran 1979:

57) and are similar in size to the smallest-scale analyses done by anthropolo- gists working from the culture area perspective. Archaeologists of the era, however, moved beyond the efforts of their an- thropological colleagues. Aerial photography was already well embedded in the field during the 1930s and continues to play a major role today. Archae- ologists wholeheartedly embracedthe ecological approachand with it the eco- system concept. Another innovation was the development of the settlement pattern approach, an explicit concern with the identification of spatial vari- ability in types of human settlements on the landscape.As defined by Willey (1953: 1), settlement patterns were "the way in which man disposed himself over the landscapeon which he lived. It refers to dwellings, to their arrange- ment, and to the nature and disposition of other buildingspertaining to com- munity life." Note the early focus on settlement patterns was upon regional- scale variability in the kinds of sites made by people and the degree to which these distributions reflected social norms and social interactions. It was not until the 1960s that this approach to settlement analysiswas connected to the ecological approach and therefore to broader issues that attempted to charac- terize human behavior as an adaptation to ecological variability in the land- scape. Regardless of theoretical perspectives, however, the direct observation of spatial variation in these phenomena is an important innovation. With the emergence of the "new archaeology" in the 1960s and its empha- sis on explanation, quantitative thinking, and a scientific perspective on the past, archaeologists increasingly turned to other fields, notably geography, for tools and ideas for spatial analysis. A whole suite of spatial analytic methods and techniques were borrowed wholesale, and they were quickly integrated into archaeological field research. These included modern variantsof the Von Thunen model of agricultural land use, Weber's model of industrial location, Christaller's central place model, Hagerstrand's model of innovation and its diffusion, and gravity models of all kinds (Hodder and Orton 1976), and many of these models were quickly connected to the ecological paradigm and settle- ment pattern analysis. Graduate students in archaeology were directed to courses in human geography. The outcome of this interest in geographywas that at leastin archaeology, there was avery explicitunderstanding that spatial data and spatial analytic techniques were fundamental to archaeologicalresearch.

Introduction

9

Another significant technical innovation that helped to better define re- gional-scale studies wasthe appearanceof remotely sensed data following the launch of the LANDSAT 1satellite in 1972. In many ways, the launch of this satellite revolutionized anthropological perspectives on regional analysis. For the first time, very large areas could be viewed in a number of productive ways (i.e., different wavelengths of the spectrum), yet modest levels of detail of these very large regions could be observed. Further, images could be updated re- peatedly. For LANDSAT 1, for example, each region could be reexamined every 18 days. The incorporation of a dynamic temporal element meant that at least in principle, temporal and spatial variability in resource availability could be studied simultaneously and thus were not strictly dependent upon being the field to monitor this variability in person. Not surprisingly, archae- ologists were first to take advantage of remotely sensed data, but ecological anthropologists quickly followed suit (Ebert 1984). By 1980, many archaeologists and a significant fraction of anthropologist were deeply imbued with the importance of spatial data in their research ef- forts. Despite the introduction of powerful new models of spatial behavior, new methods for the acquisition of spatial data at very large scales, and useful theoretical constructs that directed inquiry, there remained a significant gap between the desire to work at larger spatial scales and the ability to do it in a practical manner. The stage, then, was set for the introduction of GIS to an- thropological and archaeological inquiry.

Recent Trends

In arecent overview of applications of GIS in archaeologicalresearch, Kvamme (1989: 162) identifiesfivebroad themes of its use: regional data management, management of remotely sensed data, regional environmental analysis, simu- lation, and locational modeling. Although these themes of use obviously over- lap, they each have slightly different emphases that are useful to explore. While these may be particularly apt descriptions of GIS use in archaeology, I believe they are also appropriate descriptors of anthropological uses of GIS as well. This is especially true given the recent convergence of interest in regional scale studies in both anthropology and archaeology. In this section of the pa- per, I will discuss how these themes of model use are reflected in the papers presented in this volume and, further, I will explore some of the new theoreti- cal and conceptual contexts that have emerged over the past fifteen years and how they have affected the ways in which GIS is used today.

Regional Data Management

Within archaeology, the impetus for the development of this model use has come from the expansion of interest in historic preservation in the United States and, to a lesser extent, Europe. Through legislation at the federal, state, and local levels, archaeologicaland historical sites are protected from destruc- tion in varying degrees. Despite the ravagesof the modern era,the numbers of

10

Anthropology, Space, and Geographic Information

Systems

extant archaeological sites are truly staggering, and much historic preserva-

tion legislation mandates that governmental

archaeological sites and historic properties under their jurisdiction For ex- ample, California has over 160,000 historic properties in its rolls, and New Mexico has almost 100,000. Obviously, the GIS is ideally suited the task of dealing with these spatially referenced data, and the paper by Blasco Bosqued, Baena Preysler, and Espiago (Chapter 11) is a good example of how this can be accomplished. While Kvamme (1989: 164) notes that most GIS applications involving regional data management are not directly concerned with manage- ment per se, there is a growing trend to build GIS applications specifically for this purpose. Many states in the United States are currently developing GIS for historic preservation, among them Nebraska, California,New Mexico, and others, and major efforts toward this end are also found in Great Britain and much of Europe (Larsen 1992). The papers by Stonich (Chapter 5) and McGwire, Chagnon, and Brewer Carias (Chapter 6)are excellent examples ofhow cultural anthropologists have used GIS for regional data management. These studies, though, have an im- petus different from that of this model use in archaeology. As the ecological paradigm in anthropology developed,it became apparent that more attention had to be paid to questions of how data from very disparate sources, such as informant interview and remotely sensed images, could be effective integrated. This became especially important for those scholars concerned with finding ways to integrate the results of traditional anthropological inquiry, which tends to be small-scale and personal, with data obtained from research into regional- scale phenomena. An additionalconcern washow the ecosystem concept could be effectively put into practice as an operational construct rather than as a convenient concept (Morren 1991; Winterhalder and Evans 1991). Yet another dimension of the need to manage regional-scale data within anthropological inquiry comes from the field of development anthropology. Development anthropology is generally concerned with finding ways to ame- liorate or reduce the impact of rapid cultural change in so-called traditional societies and to investigate the waysin which change is made manifestin these societies when confronted with significant and persistent contact from more complex groups. Research thus takes place within an "applied" or practical context. Unlike many forms of anthropological inquiry, then, the outcome of research may have a powerful influence on the lives of the people or groups under study, for either good or ill. Consequently, those who practice in this fieldof anthropological inquiry must be more diligent and thorough than their purely academic brethren simply because at some level, people's lives depend on what they do. Thus their tools must be first-rate and comprehensive. One aspect of development anthropology that must be emphasized is that the spatial scale of the entity affected by this rapid change is often consider- ably larger than that dealt with in more traditional anthropological research settings. Historically, anthropologists have tended to limittheir inquiryto small- scale cultural phenomena, such as families, households, villages, and, in some cases, even individuals. The development anthropologist, however, is faced

agencies maintain inventories of

Introduction

11

with change generally taking place across regions and larger geographic spaces. Given this, it is clear that traditional forms of investigation, such as participant observation, while providinguseful insights, must nevertheless be supplemented by other sorts of instruments, such as surveys and questionnaires. As Stonich shows, an obvious role of GIS in this area is to provide a plat- form through which regional-scale data can be better integrated into the re- search process. In this case, the GIS is a tool useful for automation of research and is thus a natural extension of the desire to use computer-assisted tech- nologies whenever feasible. In effect, the GIS allows the researcher, along with complementary data-gathering methods, to develop a more reliable re- gional picture of variation or homogeneity of the phenomena under study. These data might include satellite imagery, aerial photographs, and space- borne photos. Combined with recent advances in global positioning system (GPS) technology and ground-truth or validationstudies,it isclearthat through the use of GIS, development anthropologists will be better able to understand the region in awayheretofore not possible. The GIS also provides a common platform for sharing data across different scientificdisciplines. In her Hondu- ran work, Stonich worked with agronomists and other natural scientists with very different perspectives on data collection and field research. As she de- scribes it, though, the GIS was instrumental in developing a broader basis for cooperation among these scientists from different fields. The data management needs faced by McGwire, Chagnon, and Brewer Carfas are somewhat different. For almost thirty years, Chagnon has been engaged in the study of the Yanomamo, a group of tribal peoples of southern Venezuela. His work has involved extensive informant interview, demographic reconstructions of population history, comparison of genetic data obtained from spatially distant and proximate villages, village movements over a re- gional scale, and much more. Asthey describe in their paper, it is clear that in order to understand these data as well as to gain insight into warfare, political alliance, and subsistence, manyvillages must be studied and compared.Again, the GIS is ideal for managing these data, which are composed of a number of distinct spatial scales. In recent years, their work has taken on greater urgency, since the Yanomamoare threatened by land invasions and political turmoil.

Management of Remotely Sensed Data

As I pointed out above, the advent of remotely sensed data, particularly that obtained through space-borne platforms, has been of enormous importance to both cultural anthropology and archaeology. It has allowed the anthropo- logical researcher to examine truly large-scale phenomena in way heretofore impossible. The papers by Loker (Chapter 2), Behrens (Chapter 4), and to a lesser extent the papers byMcGwire et al. and by Stonich, are good examples of this trend. One of the most important environmental issues of the modern era is the combination of rapid population growth and environmental degra- dation. Although clearly a global phenomenon, population growth and its ef- fects on environment are best observed at a regional level. One region of the

12

Anthropology, Space, and Geographic Information Systems

world in which this topic has been hotly debated is in the Amazon basin.As Loker rightly notes, while governmental policy may foster policies tolerant of destructive land-use practices, landisdestroyed bythe land manager or farmer. Thus a "global" problem has a very real local manifestation. The question for research, then, is to identify how these land managers are destroying the land, what kinds ofland are under the most threat, and how productive steps can be taken to slow or even halt these activities. One of Loker's main points is that secondary data on land use, soil type, and crops planted—data traditionally used by economists, agronomists, and anthropologists to chart changes in land use through time—are generally inaccurate and thus almost always suspect. Further, they are always dated and are likely to be of little use in such a dy- namic, ever-changing situation. Remotely sensed data, in combination with local-level studies for ground truth and depth, are an obvious solution to the problem of data quality. To Loker, the GIS is the only platform capable of handling these data in a timely and useful fashion; his paper is a very good description of how such a research effort can be organized. Behrens' paper provides a somewhat different perspective on the use of remotely sensed data that is complementary to the approach used by Loker. While Behrensisconcerned with deforestation in the Amazon,his emphasisis upon building a formal model of the process, one that shows how indigenous groups in the region intensifytheir use of the land and how this leads to defor- estation and other forms of land degradation. The remotely sensed data were used to test this formal model, and the GIS was used to organize data over a very large area of the Peruvian Amazon basin. As Behrens notes, his work is firmly within an ecological approach to cultural phenomena.

Regional Environmental Analysis

This theme of model use is concerned with the examination of the way in which some spatially distributed phenomenon is correlated with features of the physical environment. In one sense, it is a clear outgrowth of the develop- ment of the ecosystem concept as applied to understanding human behavior, and the goal of this theme of model use is to determine that set of features which appear to have the greatest influence on the character of human settle- ment in some region. As Kvamme (1989: 168) notes, while there has been a long tradition of this type of environmental modeling in archaeological re- search, most of the results were not convincing until the advent of GIS, which allowed the researcher to look at larger regions in a far more systematic man- ner. The most successful uses of this model theme have come from archaeol- ogy, and a number of papers in this volume deal with it, including those by Van West and Kohler (Chapter 7); Gaffney, Stancic, and Watson (Chapter 8); Maschner (Chapter 10); and Lock and Harris (Chapter 13). In each of these papers, some aspect of the regional environment has been deemed of impor- tance to understanding some aspect about the wayin which the landscapewas used in past times. In the paper by Lock and Harris, for example, the authors are concerned with understanding the place of Danebury, an English hillfort,

Introduction

13

in both the environmental and social landscapesof the past. Data used in their modeling exercise include present-day hydrology, soils, and terrain elevation. In a very different part of the world, Tebenkof Bay of the Alaskan coast, Maschner collected a different suite of environmental data, including grade, drainage, beach quality,vegetation, distance to fresh water, climatic exposure, solar exposure, and resource patches (such as shellfish beds, salmon streams, etc.). However, he only incorporated a subset of these in his GIS: cardinal exposure, island size, climatic exposure, beach quality, slope, drainage, and distance to fresh water. Maschner's goal is to model the determinants of settle- ment placement, and while he rightly emphasizes the role environmentalfac- tors have to play in this process, he argues that environmental data alone are not sufficient to explain why people placed their sites where they did. This is a topic to which I will return to below. The paper by Van West and Kohler is an interesting exampleof how envi- ronmental data can be used creatively in the research process. The context of their research is the Four Corners area of the American Southwest in a time frame ranging from A.D. 900 to 1350. They are interested in the degree to which environmental factors influenced food sharing in this region and how this, in turn, was related to long-term cycles of population dispersion and ag- gregation. Obviously, regional environmental data are of critical importance to the exploration of this problem. Of the many different kinds of environ- mental data to choose from, however, they selected only five categories of information: soil depth and type, available water capacity, natural plant pro- ductivity, and agricultural productivity. While they could have chosen many others, they identified these variables as the most important to their study. Their paper is a good example of how to approach the modeling process; there must be good congruence between hypotheses posed, data collected, and methods of analysis. In each case, the authors rightly note the critical role played by the GIS in their research. Although each model could have been constructed without a GIS, none of them could have been used to investigate the problems posed in anything like a systematic and thorough fashion without it. Maschner, for ex- ample, is quite explicit in this belief when he argues that without the GIS, his particular approach to the determinants of settlement choice could not have been accomplished. Lock and Harris agree and emphasizethe importance of GIS in terms of allowing researchers to explore their data more fully than had previously been possible.

Simulation

Simulation asks the question "What if

of model, explores the consequences of that model in a dynamic manner (Aldenderfer 1990: 196-199). Simulation has had a long history of use in an- thropology and archaeology, and it is no surprise that users of GIS within these fields have found a productive way in which to combine the two meth- odologies. While relativelyfewstudiesusingsimulationand GIS together have

and, through the use of some sort

?"

14

Anthropology, Space, and Geographic Information

Systems

been published, two papers in this volume—Van West and Kohler and Behrens—demonstrate the potential of the approach. Van West and Kohler develop a very sophisticated model of prehistoric agricultural activity, and use the model to explore how human populations dependent upon sufficient lev- els of agricultural productivity would have responded to extreme climaticvari- ability. Among other things, they are able to predict the degree of cooperation in food sharing using this model, and further, their results can provide deeper insight into the process of population dispersal and aggregation seen through the Four Corners region from A.D. 900 through 1350. The thrust of Behrens' paper is similar, and although he does not provide a complete empirical test of his model of agricultural land intensification in the Peruvian Amazon,he does indicate the strong points of his model when the GIS is used to develop data based on its implications. The role of GIS in both of these examples is clear; without the GIS, neither of these models could have been examined in a systematic manner.

Locational Modeling

One of the most important and obvious applications of the GIS to human behavior is its use to predict the location of some aspectof human behavior on the landscape. Depending on the goal of the modeling effort, this can be ei- ther a very simple or very complex thing. AsI have discussed in my historical review, the idea of modeling and predicting spatial aspects of human behavior has had a long history in both anthropology and archaeology, although the degree to which it has been realized has varied with the skill of the modelers, the quality of the model, and the kinds of methods available useful in making the model operational. Moreover, the quality of theory has a very strong influence on the success of any modeling effort, as I will discuss more extensively below. Within cultural anthropology, there hasbeen relativelylittle use oflocational modeling, although there has been a great desire to find some way to imple- ment it. Unlike their archaeological colleagues, however, cultural anthropolo- gists have been little interested in predicting the locations of sites or other forms of habitations on the landscape. Instead, their interest in locational modeling is directed at unravelingspatial patterns in more complex behaviors. For instance, Winterhalder and Evans (1991), in their study of agricultural productivity on the eastern flanks of the Andes in southern Peru, looked pri- marily at field distribution and patterns of exchangerather than the placement of villages vis-a-vis some set of natural features. A similar approach in a very different environmental and cultural context has been taken by Arnold and Appelbaum (Chapter 3).In this paper, the authors are interested in modeling the relationship between ethnicity and spatiallocation in the Los Angeles gar- ment district. Theory from economics, geography,and sociologypredictsthat the geographic concentration of businesses promotes their competitiveness through a variety of mechanisms. A neglected aspect of this is the degree to which these concentrations overlap in their distribution with other spatial

Introduction

15

phenomena, such as ethnic neighborhoods. Arnold and Appelbaum hypoth- esize that ethnic groups demonstrating higher levels of form concentration will have high levels of economic success,but they also ask the key question of at precisely what spatial scale is this success manifest. Therefore, they must "locate" ethnic variability at some spatial scale and relate it to economic suc- cess. This approach to locational modeling is reflected in different degrees in the papers by Loker, McGwire et al. and Behrens. Most GIS applicationswithin archaeology have been concerned with pre- dictive modeling (Kvamme 1989; Allen et al. 1990). Specific modeling meth- odologies used to explore the data generated through the use of the model include log-linear modeling, multivariate methods, various forms of numeri- cal simulation, and, of course, various spatial statistics. As Kvamme (1989) has noted, however, there has been less emphasis on the use of spatial statistical thinking than might be expected. The general consensus regarding the use of the GIS for locational modeling in archaeology is that while it has been rela- tively successful in its application to date, there is still the lingering feeling that GIS could be far more important to the field than is currently recognized. This feeling appears to have its origin in the way in which GIS was first ap- plied as a locational modeling tool. Early models focused almostexclusively on environmental parameters of land use (reflected in the regional environ- mental analysismodel theme) and, while these models had some limited suc- cess, they clearly ignored other kinds of data that structure human use of the landscape. The paper by Gaffney et al. (Chapter 8) expresses some of these concerns in an eloquent manner. These investigators argue that the GIS has not been as effective as a tool for archaeological research because it has been tied, albeit unfairly, to theories of human behavior that emphasize functional and economic determinism. Archaeologists have long been concerned with how territories, boundaries, and regions may have been defined in the prehis- toric past. Site catchment analysis,types of location modeling, and even pre- dictive models have been employed to this end. There is considerable suspi- cion, though, that many of the approaches and data types we have adopted to define these constructs have actually imposed a structure on the past that is not isomorphic with what may have existed in prehistory. While we must rec- ognize that this problem can never be resolved with archaeological data (in the sense that we can ever empirically verify a prehistoric mental construct like "territory"), it may prove possible to identify material correlates of those constructs with some success. To date,most of the GIS-based approaches that have worked with this problem have used various combinations of economi- callyrelatedvariables(arableland,soiltype, etc.) and sought boundaries through the creation of Theissen polygons or some similar spatial method (see, for example, Savage 1990a, b). In most cases,the application of these methods has provided plausibleinsight into possible territorial boundaries. Yetit is the case that humans as a species often define their territories using other criteria and that economic hinterlands only capture these boundaries imperfectlyif at all. The challenge, then, is to identify those variables accessibleto the archaeolo- gist that could inform us about past conceptions of territory. The writers fur-

16

Anthropology, Space, and Geographic Information

Systems

ther suggest that if the GIS is ever to seewidespreaduse in archaeology, it will have to find ways to accommodate very different theoretical perspectives. Lock and Harris (Chapter 13) agree with this prescription and makeit clear that the GIS, to be used effectively, must be employed within a theoretical perspective. They echo the concerns of Gaffney, Stancic, and Watson, and they explore the use of viewsheds as a means by which archaeologists can be- gin to conceptualizenew waysto perform locational modeling. Viewshed analy- sis a common method in landscape architecture, and a number of archaeolo- gists have begun to employ it in their research .Viewsheds are simply graphi- cal means of displaying points of view from any location on a digitized land- scape, and GIS is superbly capable of creating them. There remains the ques- tion, however, of just what we look at from where. An early answer to this question was simply to compute viewsheds from each major archaeological site type, overlay the viewsheds, and determine which of them overlap,which are invisible from one another, and which simply do not seem to correlate with others. To be charitable, this can be called exploratory data analysis, and under many circumstances, this may be the most profitable means by which insight into the past can be obtained. Being less charitable, these efforts are little more than spatial analogs of the uninhibited data dredging using multivariate statistical methods that characterized archaeology during the 1970s. In effect, the calculation of viewsheds can be used in lieu of think- ing about the problem. It is easy to criticize, however, and more difficult to offer useful advice. Mortuary sites have been shown to be excellent candidatesfor viewshed analy- sis, as is rock art. Art is well-known to be intimately tied to religion, world view, and, in many instances, ethnic differentiation. While there have been numerous distributional studies of rock art, there have been few attempts to look at the viewsheds of different types of art across a regional landscape. The hard part, though, is developing some set of expectations of how this art ar- ticulates with perceptions of that landscape. Given our extensive ethnographic analysis and understanding of rock art of a number of different cultures, rea- sonable progress toward this goal seems achievable. Yet another type of data that could be used to develop viewsheds is the line of site. This is similar to the viewshed, but it is somewhat more specific to particular orientations and goals. It is well known that, in many societies, reli- gious sites, shrines, and habitation sites are placed so as to be in view of natu- ral, not cultural, features of the landscape. In the Andes, for example, moun- tain peaks, both small and large, are sites of religious activity, and complex networks of lines of site between these peaksare known from the ethnohistorical record. While many of these peaks are known to have archaeologicalsites atop them, many other have not been explored. Using GIS and line of site, it may be possible to predict which peaks are likely to have sites and if so, of what type. Would it not be easier just to get photos or maps of these locations and create lines of site more cheaply? It might be easier, but traditional methods are unlikelyto provide the insight necessaryto such an approach.Seeing might not be believing, but this sort of virtual vision is often of considerable value.A

Introduction

17

real problem with line-of-site analysis is one that commonly plagues

archeoastronomy. From any sort of monumental architecture, it is often very

easy to create aline of site to virtuallyany natural feature, such as a star. Which,

if any, of these is one that would have been perceived in the past cannot be easily determined. Line of site analysis,therefore, may be more useful in circum- stances in which direct historical analogy suggests that certain natural features have a clear articulation with some type of land use. Other cognitive approaches to the landscapemay prove to be useful aswell, but again,much depends on whether or not a coherent theoretical perspective

can be developed that can then be integrated with a set of methods. For in-

stance, neo-Darwinian approachesto cultural variation are beginning to show

that

there maywell be developmental differences in human landscape percep-

tion

when viewed over evolutionary time (Maschner, Chapter 10;Kaplan 1992).

Whether or not any of these will be visible in the archaeological record re- mains open to serious question, but it is clear that GIS can help to resolve and

explore these issues should sufficient data be generated. All of this is not meant to imply that traditional approaches to locational modeling cannot be extremely useful and successful. The papers by Ruggles

and

Church (Chapter 9) and Potts, Jorstad, and Cole (Chapter 12) amply at-

test

to this. In many ways, their analysis of Late Horizon settlement patterns

in the Basin of Mexico is a classic application of GIS to an archaeological problem. What is of greatest interest in this paper isthat while in this instance it is concerned only with the Aztec example,the methodology could easilybe employed in the study of any imperial (or less complex) political system. Us- ing this model, it is possible to develop comparative analyses of the "efficiency"

of ancient imperial states, and, by so doing, to gain deeper insight into how these polities were organized. The paper by Potts and associates examines the

role of locational modeling from a very different perspective. The scale of

analysis in this instance is far smaller than the region, it involves a smallarea surrounding alreadydefined, very ancient archaeological sites. While the area described in this paper—the Olorgesailie basin in southern Kenya—is much larger than a single archaeological site, it is smaller than any of the regions

examined bythe other contributors. This is unimportant, however, because

the goal of the modeling effort is the same—how to identify areas within

the basin that have a high probability of containing archaeological re-

sources of various time periods. The predictors in this case are a complex

mix of geological variables.

Conclusions

The GIS has avery bright future as a tool in anthropological and archaeologi-

cal research, and I think the papers in this volume have defined the ways in which this developmentwill take place. It is important to stress,however,that as a tool, GIS and associatedtechnologies are "theory-free," in that there is no

necessary isomorphism between a particular data type or category and the use of GIS to solve or explore a problem. The GIS will be useful if the problem at

18

Anthropology, Space, and Geographic Information

Systems

hand has a significant spatial dimension that has been carefully identified and articulated by the researcher. Therefore, while it is unlikely that an anthro- pologist interested in deconstructionism or postmodern approachesto culture will find GIS useful, there is nothing intrinsic to GIS that makes this the case. If space is somehow relevant to the postmodernist's problem, however, it is quite probable that GIS could be used and used effectively. Whatever the theory, spaceis an intrinsic property of life and society. If we are interested in developing more reliable and robust quantitative idioms to help us understand our "place" in space, the GIS has extraordinary advantages to offer us, and I believe the next ten yearswill witness something of a rebirth in the anthropological use of space, helped in great part by emerging GIS systems and technologies.

N otes

1. In the United States, most archaeologists are trained in departments of anthropol-

ogy, and they consider themselves to be anthropologists first, then archaeologists. However, since there are significant differences in the kinds of data obtained and em-

ployed by these modes of inquiry, it is useful to keep them distinct.

2. Good introductions to GIS can be found in Maguire, Goodchild, and Rhind (1991)

and Star and Estes (1990).

3. Driver and Kroeber (1932) did compute very large similarity matrices of trait list

data, but the technique was never widelyadopted.

2

Land Degradation in the Peruvian Amazon:

Applying GIS in Human Ecology Research

William M. Loker

Land degradation, a reduction in the productive capacityof land, is a process of increasing concern in the challenge to maintain and enhance global food production. It is an especially critical problem in developing countries faced with the need to increase food availabilityforgrowing populations.Billionsof dollars are invested in agriculturalresearchand development aimedatincreasing the food supply. At the same time, land degradation threatens to reduce pro- duction in large areas of agricultural land. While estimates of the magnitude of the problem vary widely (see WCED 1987; WRI/IIED 1988;and Lai and Stewart 1990for recent reviews),there is a growing consensus that landdeg- radation is a serious and complex problem that merits increased attention from both natural and social scientists. A recent review of this topic by Blaikie and Brookfield (1987) highlights the role of the social sciences in studying land degradation problems. According to these authors, the term "land degradation" refers to a reduction in the ac- tual or potential uses of land due to human activities (1987: 1).The costs of land degradation ("theproduct of work on degradedlands is less than that on the same land without degradation") makeit a serious social problem for mil- lions of farmers around the world and thus a priority for social science inquiry. A central actor for understanding the causes and consequences of landdeg- radation is the land manager—most often the farmer—who makes the land- use decisions for particular plots of land. Social science has a key role in un- derstanding this process of decision making, including the social and ecologi- cal contexts in which decisions are carried out. Anthropology's emphasis on working with peasants, small farmers, and indigenous people holds out the promise for important empirical and theoretical contributions in understand- ing land degradation. A human ecology approach that focuses on the adaptive strategies of individuals and groups and the environmental consequences of these behaviors seems particularlywell placed to contribute to this topic. Much of the necessary research must be carried out "in the field," in close contact with land managers,to observe the consequencesand processof decisionmak- ing at first hand. Recent studies of household decision making recognize the challenges in- herent in modeling this process, including the need to understand

20

Anthropology, Space, and Geographic Information Systems

intrahousehold resource distribution and authority aswell asthe external con- text that shapesthe choices available at the farm level (see Gladwin 1980; Wilk 1989; Schminck 1984; Barlett 1980; von Braun and Pandaya-Lorch 1990). The enormous data requirements for a comprehensive understanding of deci- sion making have limited this type of study to microlevels—a household, vil- lage, town, or other smallgroup of people. Past efforts to measure land degra- dation have likewise been restricted to microlevels:individual fields or experi- mental plots. These microlevel data are extremely valuablein identifying the factors involved and magnitudes of the impacts of agriculture in particular environments. However, geographic extrapolation of results generated at the microlevel to wider units of analysisis difficult or impossible. Yet the formation of sound research and development strategies to address land degradation frequently demands information from larger spatialscales. Policy makers and development planners frequentlyneed information gener- ated at the regional level in order to make better decisions regarding the cu- mulative effects of land degradation and the allocation of resources for ad- dressing the problem. At present there are fewreliable techniques for examin- ing regional-level environmental impacts to guide policy and resource alloca- tion decisions. This paper outlines a low-cost, objective means of analyzing land-use patterns and variation in the natural resource base in order to iden- tify specific geographic areas most in need of technical or policy interventions aimed at ameliorating land degradation and its social effects.

Setting the Context: the Peruvian Amazon

The Peruvian Amazonis an area of about 75 million hectares (ha) located east of the Andes mountains (Figure 2.1). For many years this selva area of Peru has been perceived as having enormous agricultural potential (Belaunde 1959; Hegen 1966). National governments have undertaken a series of initiatives and invested millions of dollars in the development of infrastructure (mostly penetration roads) in order to realize this potential. These policies have en- couraged large-scale migration to the region, accompanied by expansion of the agricultural frontier (Table 2.1). National statistics indicate the growing importance of the selva in the agricultural economy (INE 1987)—the fruit, to a certain extent, of investments made in the region (Table 2.2).

Table 2.1 Population growth in selected departments of the Peruvian Amazon.

Department

Population

 

Growth Rate

 

1949-

1961-

1972-

 

1949

1961

1972

1981

61

72

81

Loreto

152,457

272,933

375,007

482,289

2.8

2.9

2.8

Madre de Dios

4,950

14,890

21,304

33,007

5.4

3.3

5.0

San Martin

94,84?

161,763

224,427

319,751

2.6

3.0

4.0

Ucayali

16,154

64,161

120,501

163,208

6.8

5.9

3.4

PERU

6,207,967

9,906,746

13,538,208

17,005,210

2.2

2.9

2.5

Source: INEI 1990

Land Degradation in the Peruvian Amazon

21

21

3 D c L :r*± s ±
3 D c L :r*± s ±

Figure 2.1 Map of Peru, indicating departments of the Peruvian Amazon.

In spite of the growing importance of the selva in the national economy, serious questions persist regarding the long-term viabilityof agricultural settle- ment of the region.Many observers seethe growth of settlement and the pro- cesses of land degradation that accompanyagricultural expansion of the fron- tier as undermining the long-term sustainability of agricultural production in the region (Collins 1986; Bedoya 1986). Fundamental questions facing policy makers and plannersinclude the following:How serious is land degradation in

Table 2.2 Recionalproduction of selected crops.

Crop

Rice

Maize

Beans

Yuca

Platano

Peru

Coast

Production/%

Production/%

977,043 / 100

651,669/66

599,684/100

168,747 / 28

17,075 / 100

7,173/42

644,259/100

19,246 /

3

835,160/100

35,517 /

4

Sierra

Selva

Production/%

Production/%

3,531/0.4

321,843/33

220,020/36

210,916/35

3,154/19

6,748/39

20,686 /

3

604,327/94

76,167 /

9

723,476/87

Notes:

Source: INE/ENAHR 1986

Selva includes lowland and highland Amazonian regions (see footnote 3).

22

Anthropology, Space, and Geographic Infonnatim

Systems

the Peruvian Amazon? What areas are most affected? What sort of agricul- tural activities are being carried out in these areas? What are the priorities for agricultural research and development to address this problem?

M eth od ology

To understand the environmental consequences of agriculture at the regional level, we need a method that can integrate two sets of data: (1) information on characteristics of the natural resource base (such as soils, vegetation, etc.) and (2) data on patterns of agricultural land use. There is ample experience in the field of resource inventories used to guide the planning and development process. The studies of ONERN (the National Office of Natural Resource Evaluation) in Peru are excellent examples of this type of indispensablework (ONERN 1962,1982,1986). It is also not unusual to carry out socioeconomic surveys (diagndsticos socioeconomicos) in the course of planning and implementing development projects. What has generally been lacking are efforts that integrate these two approaches to understand the in- teraction of human populations with their environments. Both natural resources and human activities share the common character- istic that they have a spatial dimension. Spatial analysis—supported by com- puterized GIS—can provide a framework for the simultaneous consideration of natural resources and human activities. Therein lies the appeal of a geo- graphic analysis for gaining a better understanding human-environmental interrelationships. Given the rather daunting data requirements for a clear understanding of household decision making and the vast area of the Peruvian Amazon, a de- tailed study of the human ecology land use in the entire region would take an army of researchers many years to complete. This is clearly impractical; policy makers need reliable information quickly and at a reasonable cost to make informed decisions. The approach taken in this study is to examine the out- comes of land-use decisions, as reflected in statistics and observations of land use, rather than the decision-making process itself, which remains something of a "black box." Admittedly such a study will not be able to answer the question of why certain land uses are chosen over others. However, ifproperly carried out it should be able to answer important questions regarding where agriculturally induced degradation is takingplace and provide preliminary information on what sort of activities are provoking degradation and how. This information can, in turn, prioritize particular zones and shape hypotheses for further research.

Crop Distribution Data

The outcomes of land-use decisions are reflected in agricultural statistics on the cultivated area of various crops. The agricultural statistics of Peru pre- sented several difficult challenges (see Loker 1989 for details) and were prob- ably less well organizedthan those of most Latin American countries. The last agricultural census in Peru was carried out in 1973 and is clearly out of date

Land Degradation in the Peruvian Amazon

23

for use in a dynamic area like the Peruvian Amazon. Collecting reliable infor- mation required travel to local statistical offices to get detailed information, which was then cross-checked by field visits and interviews with key infor- mants such aslocal agricultural researchers and farmers.These field visits also permitted a first-hand look at the predominant farming systems in use to un- derstand how these crops were grown. For example, rice is grown in three very distinctive agronomic and ecological contexts: under irrigation, dryrice in upland areas and along major rivers in seasonallyexposedareas(regionally termed

differences are not reflected in agricultural statistics; thus field

research was an indispensable component of the overall data-gathering process. The five crops studied in detail are rice, maize, beans, yucca, and plantains. Their distribution has been calculated and mapped in the departments of Loreto, Madre de Dios, San Martin, and Ucayali— departments that cover almost all the selva baja and part of the selva alta. The crops were chosen based on three criteria: economic importance, available statistical information, and the fact that, as annual or semiannual crops, they closely reflect recent land- use decisions taken by farmers. An historical series (1980-88) of area culti- vated, production, price and total value of each crop, listed by province, for the departments studied was created (see Loker 1989). Table 2.3 presents the data on area cultivated of the five crops studied in 1988 by department. After collecting, analyzing, and adjusting the data on cultivated area and production for the crops studied, the next step was to map the distribution of crops. This mapping process demanded disaggregated data in order to pin- point the location of cropping activities as finely as possible. Even the rela- tively disaggregated data collected from local statistical offices often covered relatively large areas in the selva. Several sources of ancillaryinformation were involved in determining more closely the distribution of cultivated areas. Field visits were made to the four departments to discuss agricultural ac- tivities with local researchers and observe local agricultural patterns. These discussions were often carried out over maps of the region in order to locate principal agriculturalregions within the local areas.These visits also served to discuss the predominant production systems in the region, including principal crops, degree of input use, and predominant environmental problems associ- ated with agricultural activities.

barriales). These

Table 2.3 Cultivated area of rice, maize,beans,yucca, and plantainsin the departments of Loreto, Madre de Dios, San Martin, Ucayali: 1988.

Area Cultivated (ha)

Department

Rice

Maize

Beans

Yuca

Platano

TOTAL

Loreto

17,096

22,299

2,317

8,530

10,350

60,592

Madre de Dios

5,429

2,932

213

640

499

9,713

San Martin

30,473

61,555

4,262

2,098

3,345

101,733

Ucayali

6,025

11,748

1,887

2,456

3,486

25,602

TOTAL

59,032

98,550

8,693

13,742

17,730

197,747

Source: Author's data derived from Ministry of Agriculture statistics

24

Anthropology, Space, and Geographic Information Systems

Mapping of crop distribution was also guided by demographic information for the region, particularly distribution of the rural population. Population data and projections were obtained from national statistics (INE-DGD 1985) for the 1980-90 period. In mapping crop distributions, it was assumed that agriculture occurs where people are, in particular where the rural population is located, an assumption supported by limited statistical evidence on rural employment patterns (INE/ORELORETO 1987; INE/OREMAD 1988). The result was a "dot map" of the area under cultivation of the five crops studied in the study area (see Figure 2.2). The crops were mapped in 100-ha units. Placement of the symbols on the map was made as precisely as possible given the limits of the data.Yetthere is a certain amount of leewayasto where a particular dot may be placed on the map. It is assumedthat the current crop- distribution map is sufficiently accurate given the 1:1 million scale of the study. This study does not consider the extent or environmental impact of coca. As is well known, illegal coca cultivation has expandedin recent years, acquir- ing enormous economic importance in certain areas of the Peruvian Ama- zon—especially the selva aha. Estimates of the actual area planted to coca vary widely—from 100,000 to 500,000 ha. Coca was not included in the study for several reasons: a preference to focus on legal activities, difficulty in gathering

Figure 2.2 Cultivated area of crops studied in the PeruvianAmazon.

I< 3 L 3 ^ " is!±
I< 3 L 3 ^ " is!±

Land Degradation in the Peruvian Amazon

25

accurate information (Table 2.4 shows the varying estimates of coca cultiva- tion in the Peruvian Amazon), and because significant areas of coca cultivation lie outside the formal bounds of the study area [above 900 meters above sea level (masl), and outside the Departments of Loreto, Madre de Dios, San Martin, and Ucayali]. The environmental impact of coca cultivation and pro- cessing has been discussed by Dourojeanni (in press). Another important land use not considered in this study is pastures. Pas- tures are not dealt with in detail due to the lack of reliable statistics on the area in pastures in the Peruvian Amazon. Local statistical offices warned of the unreliability of pasture and livestock figures. The small amount of data en- countered in the course of researching this topic has been organized into Table 2.5, which includes information from some regions outside the study area. Where relevant, these and other sources of information will be drawn on to illustrate the role and importance of pastures in the Peruvian Amazon. An alternative to the use of agricultural statistics would be the use of re- mote sensing imagery to map land-use patterns. This strategy was not chosen because of the expense of obtaining coverage for the entire Peruvian Amazon and the difficulty, due to the prevalence of cloud cover over much of the area, of obtaining even roughly contemporaneous images.

Natural Resource Distribution

The second set of information needed for the methodology proposed here is data on the distribution of natural resources—in particular those elements of the natural environment most relevant to agricultural production. This paper uses an the agroecological study of the South American lowlands published by CIAT and EMBRAPA entitled Land in Tropical America. In the case of Peru, the basic information used in the CIAT-EMBRAPA study is derived from stud- ies conducted by ONERN, complemented by other local sources. This infor- mation is spatially limited and was extrapolated regionwide based on available satellite and air photo imagery. Land in Tropical America, covers 820 million ha at the 1:1 million scale, in-

Table 2.4 Estimates of the extent of coca cultivation, Peruvian Amazon.

Estimated Area Cultivated (ha)

Region San Martin

45,000

- 300,000

Huanuco

13,200

- 100,000

Cuzco (Quillabamba)

15,000

-

20,000

Junin-Pasco

5,000

-

15,000

Total Peru

100,000

- 500,000

Sources: PEAH-OSE, 1988 Ministerio de Agricultura, Region Agraria XIII (San Martin), n.d. Que Hacer, No 59 (June-July 1989) Personal Communications

26

Anthropology, Space, and Geographic Information

Systems

Table 2.5 Pastures, livestock information, Peruvian Amazon.

Region

Area in

Livestock Population (head)

Pastures (has.)*

Cattle

Swine

Poultry

Loreto

30,000

32,000

n.d.

n.d.

Madre de Dies

10,276

20,355

7,533

200,352

Ucayali

38,120

21,953

47,840

21,000

1,144,000

San Martin

81,102

101,756

100,000

2,500,000

Aha Huallaga

10,238

25,138

28,598

20,908

426,633

Alto Mayo

426

5,300

13,747

n.d.

n.d.

Baja Mayo-Huallaga Central

40,000

71,670

n.d.

n.d.

Palcazu

12,177

13,139

3,005

11,801

Satipo/Chanchamayo

14,343

13,000

7,485

n.d.

TOTAL

207,971

228,090

>159,920

>4,283,000

* First column refers to "Pastes naturales," second column to "Pastes cultivados"; where only one figure is listed, source did not distinguish between "naturales"and "cultivados."

Sources:

Loreto: personal communication, Oficina Regional de Estadistica,

Ministerio de Agricultura

Madre de Dios: personal communication, Oficina Regional de Estadistica, Ministerio de Agricultura Ucayali: Ministerio de Agricultura, Region Agraria XXIII (Ucayali), 1987. San Martin: ONERN-PNUMA (in press) and Ministerio de Agricultura, Region Agraria XIII, mimeo

Alta Huallaga: PEAH-OSE 1987;

Bajo Mayo-Huallaga Central: ONERN-PNUMA, in press.

Palcazu: INADE-APODESA,

Alto Mayo: Mimeo, INADE-APODESA

1988;

Satipo/Chanchamayo: Cerron Rivera 1985

eluding Peruvian territory east of the Andes below 900 masl. The study de- fines land systems, which are "an area or group of areas throughout which there is a recurring pattern of climate, landscape and soils." (Cochrane et al. 1985: 2). Specifically, the variables studied include topography, hydrology, vegetation, physical and chemical soil characteristics, temperature, rainfall, potential evapotranspiration and other climatic factors. Fifty-nine land sys- tems, covering a little over 61 million ha, fall wholly or partially within the study area (see Figure 2.3).Table 2.6 lists the land systems, their areal extent, and their approximate location in the study area. These land systems are far- ther divided into land facets that describe the topographic and edaphic varia- tion within the land systems. The CIAT-EMBRAPA studyprovidesbasicinformationon natural resources that most immediately affect agricultural potential of a given region. This in- formation is stored in grids of cell size 5 cm by 4 cm, an area of about 9.25 by 7.4 km at this latitude. The resulting 1:1 million scale map provides a coarse- grained view of resources, ignoring much of the spatial variability to which agriculturalists genuinely adapt (see Moran 1990 for discussion of scale in human ecology studies). But at present it is the most comprehensive study of agricultural resources in the region and the scale seemed suitable for the re- gional-level study contemplated here. In fact, one of the goals of this research was to test the suitability of this database as a research and planning tool.

Land Degradation in the Peruvian Amazon

27

Land Degradation in the Peruvian Amazon 2 7 Figure 2.3 Land systems of the Peruvian Amazon.

Figure 2.3 Land systems of the Peruvian Amazon.

Effects of Crops on Resources: Analytical

Procedures

The next step in the analytical process was to relate the crop distribution to the naturalresource base.It washere that the GIS greatly facilitated the analysis. The GIS is capableof taking various sets of spatially referenced data and trans- forming them to create new data sets that can be translated into computer- generated images. The impact of agricultural activities is a combination of the sensitivity of the land base to degradation (based on inherent agronomic characteristics) and the nature of the cropping activities. Therefore it is necessary to classify production systems in terms of their impact on the environment, given the latter's susceptibility to degradation. Production systems in the region were classified into three basic types: irrigated, riverine, and upland. Irrigated systems are rice-basedwith little rotation of crops or fields, make extensive use of chemicalinputs (fertilizer and biocides),and are concentrated

28

Table 2.6 Area and location of land systems, Peruvian Amazon.

System

Areas (has.)

Location

220

9,229,437

Putumayo Plain

224

753,201

Putumayo River

228

584,991

Small scattered pockets in interfluves of Ucayali, both E & W sides

370

1,515,172

Large interfluve E side Ucayali, source of numerous rivers into Brazil

372

1,958,720

Interfluves around Rio Purus

373

803,441

Interfluves below 372 along Purus into Brazil

375

209,264

Rio Alto Purus into Brazil

400

141,076

Interfluve N of Madre de Dios (mostly Bolivia)

405

294,768

Rio Madre de Dios into Bolivia

408

1,298,356

Interfluves around Madre de Dios, Tambopata, Inambari

413

6,680

Interfluves upper Rio Madrid into Bolivia

803

369,468

Interfluve Morona/ Santiago

804

1,235,383

Interfluve Morona/ Santiago; Interfluve Maranon/Huallaga W of Tarapoto, Alto May

805

130,010

Rio Morona

806

4,938,683

Interfluve Pastaza/Morona, Pastaza/Tigre

807

1,602,718

Interfluve Tigre/Pastaza

808

2,669,975

Interfluve Napo/Tigre

809

4,147,596

Large area of interfluve above 808

810

2,774,281

Huallaga uplands, Interfluve middle Huallaga/Ucayali level of Juanjui; Interfluve Huallaga/Aguaytia

811

1,038,554 Small pocket off Napo; numerous small pockets scattered near major rivers

812

862,378

Lower Rio Maranon

813

308,300

Lower Rio Napo

814

41,079

Tributary to Napo

815

390,775

Upper Napo/Curaray

816

123,233

Rio Tigre (tributary to Maranon) & Rio Corrientes

817

116,386

RioPastaza

818

355,504

Lower Maranon at confluence of Ucayali

819

259,723

Maranon above confluence w/Huallaga

820

191,096

Lower Huallaga near Yurimaguas

821

532,544

Lower Ucayali, N of 6 degrees S

822

741,138

Lower Ucayali, S of 6 degrees S to confluence of Pachitea

823

54,406

Small tributary, W side Ucayali

824

2,570,874

Large interfluve E side Ucayali

825

2,183,258

Interfluve Maranon/Huallaga, Huallaga/Ucayali near Yurimaguas

826

1,024,554 Scattered pockets along major rivers, E bank Ucayali, interfluve Ucayali/Aguaytia,

 

& scattered small pockets

827

1,735,187

Interfluve lower Maranon/Ucaya

828

1,720,457 Interfluve Ucayali/Tapiche also scattered along Ucayali & Ucayali/Huallaga interflv Interfluve Ucayali/Pachitea/Aguaytia & scattered small pockets

829

319,495

Scattered pockets along major rivers

830

270,621

Terrace W bank Alto Ucayali near Atalya

831

784,380

Interfluve between small tributaries E side Ucayali

832

261,985

Rio de las Piedras/Tahuamanu

833

5,373,303 Interfluve E of Urubamba to Rio de las Piedras and Brazilianborder

834

1,369,545

Pockets E of Ucayali and source of E tributaries, also interfluve Urubamba/Tambo

835

998,314

Andean foothills in south, headwaters of Inambari, Tambopata (shared w/Bolivia)

836

335,022

Urubamba, Tambo, small tributaries E Ucayali and Upper Rio Madre de Dios

837

27,106

Long narrow zone between Ucayali & Jurua

838

494,056 Pachitea, Alto Ucayali to 836,confluence Urubamba/Tambo

839

648,031

Interfluve Pachitea/Ucayali, Tambo/Urubamba

847

326,976 Rio Santiago plain; scattered pockets in 810, tributaries to middle Huallaga

848

68,029

Huallaga below Juanjui & small tributary to Ucayali

850

95,043

Huallaga above Juanjui to Tingo Maria

851

386,345 Large pocket E of Ucayali near confluencew/Pachitea

854

255,668 Pocket along Bolivian border between Iberia-Inapari

Land Degradation in the Peruvian Amazon

29

in San Martin, particularly in the Alto Mayo region. In contrast, riverine sys- tems are concentrated along the lower courses of major rivers (Maranon, Ucayali, Napo) and are characterized by production ofrice and beans in annu- allyfloodedlands (barriaks) with maize, plantains, and yucca on levees (restin with very limited production in upland areas away from the rivers. Finally upland production systems are found along roads on nonalluvial soils and fo- cus on the production of annual crops (upland rice, maize, beans or cowpea, yucca, and plantains), frequently including a pasture component for dual-pur- pose (milk and beef) cattle raising. The riverine and upland systems are char- acterized byshifting cultivation with varying crop-fallow periods and very lim- ited use of chemical inputs. Thus, these systems are very dependent on the inherent local agroecological conditions. The sensitivity of land systems can be assessed in terms of their erodibility and their fertility. This responds to the two major forms of land degradation prevalent in the Peruvian Amazon: deterioration ofsoil quality through physi- cal processes (erosion) and soil biochemical degradation or nutrient loss through leaching, harvest, etc., loss of organic matter, and exchangeable bases and re- lated processes. The information on land-system characteristics was used to generate erodibility and fertility scores for each land facet in the study area. Figures 2.4 and 2.5 are computer-generated maps of the erodibility and

Figure 2.4 Erodibility of land systems, Peruvian Amazon.

2.4 and 2.5 are computer-generated maps of the erodibility and Figure 2.4 Erodibility of land systems,

30

Anthropology, Space, and Geographic Information Systems

fertility of lands in the Peruvian Amazon. Figure 2.4 displays land systems with very high or high credibility. Note that the land systems with the highest credibility are located along the western margin of the basin, in the Andean foothills. This is the selva aha, which is also the area which has undergone the most intensive colonization and agricultural exploitation in the Peruvian Ama- zon. (Significant portions of the selva aha lie outside the area covered by this study—i.e., the selva of Junin, Pasco, Cuzco, and Puno.) The other areas of high to very high credibility are upland areas on the east side of the Ucayali and the uplands surrounding the Rio de las Piedras in Madre de Dios. Figure 2.5 is a map of soil fertilityand classifies land systems in terms of the percentage of their area that is of high to very high fertility or low to very low fertility. Areas that are of average fertility are represented as white. Notice that significant areas of the most fertile land are located along major river courses. This conclusion is not surprising; alluviallands are known to be gen- erally more fertile than uplands. But it is worth noting, as it appears to vindi- cate the method used to generate the fertility rankings.

Figure 2.5 Fertility of land systems, Peruvian Amazon.

Icl:*:;* i.s' i
Icl:*:;* i.s' i

Land Degradation in the Peruvian Amazon

31

Results

Crop Distribution by Land System

The first step in relating the impact of agricultural practices on natural re- sources is to determine the distribution of cultivated area relative to land sys- tems: in which land systems are agricultural activities concentrated? The geo- graphic information system permits the cropping patterns to be overlaid on the land systems and a count of the number of hectares under cultivation by land system can be generated. A key assumption of this study is that, all other things being equal, land degradation will tend to occur where cultivation is concentrated in land systems of high credibility and/or low fertility. Table 2.7 lists the distribution of cultivated area by land system. The culti- vated area is broken down by three types of rice (irrigated, floodplain, upland) plus the other four crops and the total cultivated area. Table 2.7 illustrates that there is a range of cultivated area in the land systems. The distribution oftotal cultivated land in the crops studied ispresented in Figure 2.6, a computer-generated orthographic projection of cultivated area where the "peaks" represent area under cultivation. Note the concentration of peaks in the western portion of the figure; this area corresponds to San Martin. Table 2.8 lists the fifteen most heavily cultivated land systems, their loca- tion, and the type of cropping activities present. The five most extensively cultivated land systems (804, 810, 822, 847, and 855) account for about 60% of the area cultivated in the study crops. Four out of five of these land systems are located in San Martin. The ten most extensively cultivated land systems (the five mentioned plus 812, 826, 820, 825, and 828) account for 76% of the total cultivated area. Including an additional five land systems representing

Fgure 2.6 Orthographic projection of total cultivated area of study crops.

an additional five land systems representing Fgure 2.6 Orthographic projection of total cultivated area of study

32

Table 2.7 Cultivated hectares by land system.

System IRRIHA BARRHA

SECRHA

TOTRHA MAIZHA

FRIJHA

YUCAHA PLATHA

CROPSHj"

804

18600

0

2900

21500

19800

1200

1000

1200

44700

810

1200

0

1100

2300

24800

2000

700

1000

30800

822

0

2900

300

3200

9600

700

800

1900

16200

847

1400

0

100

1500

9500

100

200

600

11900

855

2400

0

500

2900

6300

700

300

200

10400

812

0

2700

400

3100

1500

100

1500

3300

9500

826

0

100

1200

1300

5400

100

900

600

8300

820

0

0

1900

1900

1900

200

800

800

5600

825

0

0

1000

1000

2400

300

700

900

5300

828

0

100

200

300

2300

100

400

900

4000

806

0

0

1000

1000

1900

0

300

600

3800

838

0

400

200

600

700

600

900

400

3200

850

900

0

600

1500

1200

200

0

300

3200

105

0

0

1700

1700

900

100

200

200

3100

808

0

300

500

800

900

300

500

500

3000

408

0

0

1600

1600

700

200

100

300

2900

818

0

800

200

1000

800

200

400

400

2800

827

0

400

100

500

500

0

500

800

2300

833

0

0

600

600

700

400

300

200

2200

821

0

800

0

800

600

0

300

300

2000

370

0

100

0

100

1000

100

300

200

1700

220

0

700

0

700

100

100

200

500

1600

836

0

0

300

300

900

100

200

0

1500

819

0

0

800

800

500

0

100

0

1400

824

0

0

400

400

500

0

300

200

1400

813

0

200

100

300

200

0

300

300

1100

816

0

0

200

200

300

100

100

400

1100

851

0

300

100

400

300

0

100

300

1100

830

0

0

100

100

400

100

200

200

1000

854

0

0

400

400

200

200

0

0

800

224

0

200

0

200

100

0

100

300

700

829

0

0

200

200

400

0

0

0

fiOO

831

0

0

0

0

0

200

200

200

600

835

0

0

200

200

100

300

0

0

600

832

0

0

500

500

0

0

0

0

500

834

0

0

0

0

100

200

100

0

400

839

0

0

0

0

200

200

0

0

400

848

100

0

0

100

300

0

0

0

400

807

0

0

0

0

0

0

200

100

300

375

0

0

100

100

0

0

100

0

200

811

0

0

0

0

0

100

100

0

200

814

0

0

0

0

0

0

100

100

200

823

0

0

0

0

200

0

0

0

200

373

0

0

0

0

100

0

0

0

100

805

0

0

100

100

0

0

0

0

100

815

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

100

100

837

0

0

100

100

0

0

0

0

100

228

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

350

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

372

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

400

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

403

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

413

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

803

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

809

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

817

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

841

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

844

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

852

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

0

IRRIHA = Hectares of irrigated rice BARRHA = Hectares of barrial rice SECRHA = Hectares of upland rice TOTRHA = Sum of IRRI+BARR+SECRHA CROPSHA = Sum of five crops studied

MAIZHA = Hectares of maize FRIJHA = Hectares of beans YUCAHA = Hectares of yuca PLATHA = Hectares of platanos

33

Land Degradation in the Peruvian Amazon Table 2.8 Location and agricultural activities in most heavily cultivated land systems.

Land

Total ha

System

Location (Department)

Cultivated

Comments

SOT

Alto Mayo (San Martin)

44,700

18,600 ha in irrigated rice, much oi remaining area upland, shifting cultivation

810

Middle Huallaga, south of Tarapoto (San Martin)

30,800

Upland areas south of Tarapoto, 1,200 ha under irrigation

822

Ueayali from Pachitea to

16,200

Riverine, significant areas in maiz<

Contamana including Pucallpa (Ueayali)

(9,600 ha), river rice (2,900 ha), platanos (1,900 ha).

847

Tributaries to Upper Huallaga, 11,900 e.g., Sapasoa, Billabo (San Martin)

Mostly upland cultivation of maizi (9,500 ha), 1,400 ha irrigated rice, much coca and pastures (not included in cultivated area total).

855

Tarapota Valley (San Martin)

10,400

Mostly upland cultivation of maizi (6,300 ha) 2,400 ha of irrigated rice.

812

Confluence of Ueayali, Maranon to Brazil border, Iquitos (Loreto)

9,500

Riverine, significant areas of river rice (2,700 ha), platanos (3,300 ha).

826

Pucallpa-Lima road, to km 80 (Ueayali)

8,300

Upland cultivation of maize (5,400 ha) rice (1,200 ha), much pasture.

820

Huallaga below Shapaja to 5,600 Lagunas, Yurimaguas (San Martin & Loreto)

Mostly upland rice and maize (about 1,900 ha in each).

825

Uplands near Yurimaguas (Loreto)

5,300

Mostly upland rice and maize (1,000 ha in rice, 2,400 ha in maize).

828

Pucallpa-Lima road km 80 to Aguaytia (Ueayali)

4,000

Upland cultivation of maize (2,300 ha), some platanos (900 ha), river rice (100 ha) on Aguaytia River.

838/

Upper Ueayali from Pachitea

4,700

Riverine and upland mixed; rice

836

to Atalaya (Ueayali)

(400 ha river, 500 ha upland),

405/

Puerto Maldonado, Inapari 8,200

maize (1,600 ha), beans (700 ha). Riverine and upland mixed; rice

408/

road to Cuzco, also Rios de las

(3,500 ha river, 2,000 ha upland),

833

Piedras, Madre de Dios and Tambopata (Madre de Dios)

maize (2,700 ha), yuca and platanos (800 ha each).

contiguous geographic areas of moderately heavycultivation (838 and 836 on the Upper Ueayali and 405,408, 833 in Madre de Dios), accounts for 82% of the total cultivated area of the study crops. (See Figure 2.7 for the location of the fifteen most heavily cultivated land systems.) Thus fifteen land systems covering a total of 13,934,536ha (22% of the land in the study area) contain 157,900 ha of cultivated land in the study crops (82% of the total area cultivated in the five study crops). The remaining 44 land systems covering 47,189,589 ha (78% of the land) have relatively small areas under cultivation—a total of 35,800 ha in the study crops (18% of the total cultivated area in the crops studied). Cropping activitiesare concentrated on a relatively small proportion of the lands in the Peruvian selva—basically those lands adjacent to major rivers and alongroads, especially in San Martin. This enables us to focus our attention on the areas of more concentrated crop- ping activities and examinethe environmental effects of agriculture in these

34 Anthropology, Space, and Geographic Information

Systems

4 Anthropology, Space, and Geographic Information Systems Figure 2.7 Location of fifteen most heavily cultivated land

Figure 2.7 Location of fifteen most heavily cultivated land systems.

areas. We can assume that agriculturally induced land degradation is either highly localized or absent in the 44 land systemswith relatively little cultivation. The question then becomes, ofthe extensivelycultivated land systems, which ones are most likely to be undergoing processes of agriculturally induced land degradation due to some combination of low inherent fertility, high credibil- ity, and inappropriate land use practices.

Impacts of Agriculture by LandSystem

We can begin to answer this question by looking at the data in Table 2.9 and Figures 2.8 and 2.9. Table 2.9 lists the fifteen land systems where cultivation activities are concentrated and their credibility and fertility ranks. This infor- mation is listed by noting the percentage of each land system that is of very high, high, average, low,or very low credibility and fertility. Figure 2.8 is a graphic representation of the information in Table 2.9 generated by a GIS.

Land Degradation in the Peruvian Amazon

55

Table 2.9 Erodibility and fertilityof agriculturallyimportant land systems.

Land

Erodibility

(Percent Area)

Fertility

System

VH

HI

AV

LO

VL

VH

HI

AV

LO

VL

804

0

92

8

0

0

0

0

100

0

0

810

94

0

6

0

0

0

0

100

0

0

822

0

0

100

0

0

28

0

72

0

0

847

0

0

100

0

0

0

0

100

0

0

855

25

50

25

0

0

50

0

50

0

0

812

0

0

50

50

0

0

0

100

0

0

826

0

0

100

0

0

0

0

68

32

0

820

0

0

100

0

0

0

0

100

0

0

825

0

92

8

0

0

0

0

0

100

0

828

0

90

10

0

0

0

0

100

0

0

836

0

0

100

0

0

0

100

0

0

0

838

0

0

100

0

0

0

40

60

0

0

405

0

0

30

70

0

0

0

70

30

0

408

0

0

80

20

0

0

0

80

20

0

833

90

0

10

0

0

0

0

10

90

0

The image overlays the information on credibility on the "peaks" of culti- vated area.The peaksoutlined in red hues indicate cultivation of land systems with significant amounts of erodible land.SanMartin is notable in this regard. Figure 2.9 relates the information on area under cultivation to the fertility of the land systems. Note that the SanMartin region is relatively fertile land, as are the cultivated alluvial lands (e.g., land system 822—Ucayali around Pucallpa). Some fertility problems manifestthemselves in the uplands west of

Figure 2.8 Overlay of credibility of land systems, cultivated area.

Percent Area in i>pri Systems with Erosion Hazard Superimposed upon : Distribution of Crops Studied,
Percent Area in i>pri Systems with Erosion Hazard
Superimposed upon : Distribution of Crops Studied, Peruvian flmazon
IcfLarrLsi

36

Anthropology, Space, and Geographic Information

Systems

Low Fertility fand Systems, Peruvian Amazon Superimposed upon : Distribution of Crops Studied, Peruvian Amazon
Low Fertility fand Systems, Peruvian Amazon
Superimposed upon : Distribution of Crops Studied,
Peruvian Amazon
- ,
-
-
K
M
TfHTK*-| SS!T-

Figure 2.9 Overlay of fertility of land systems, cultivated area.

Pucallpa (land system 826), the Yurimaguas uplands (land system 825) and in Madre de Dios (land systems 405, 408, and 833). The same information is conveyed in Table 2.9. Examining the first group of five land systems, we can note that all of the land in these areas is of average or above average fertility. However, the three of the four land systems located in San Martin (804, 810, and 855) also have major portions of highly and very highly credible land. Thus we can expect that these lands are susceptible to degradation due to erosion. These land systems represent 4,218,492 total ha and 85,900 ha of cultivated area in the crops studied. Two additional land systems in the first group of five—847 and 822—appear to be less susceptible to degradation than the three just discussed.Both landsystems represent river valleys: 847 the tributaries to the Huallaga and 822 the middle Ucayali. The second tier of land systems also presents a mixed situation regarding risk of degradation. The two alluvial land systems (812, Lower Ucayali- Maranon around Iquitos, and 820, Lower Huallaga around Yurimaguas)are relatively less likely to undergo agriculturallyinduced land degradation due to their average to low credibility and average fertility-—fertility that is renewed periodically through flooding. The upland land systems (826, km 15-80 on the Pucallpa to Lima road; 825, uplands around Yurimaguas and between the Ucayali and Huallaga; and 828, km 80-150 on the Pucallpa to Lima road) appear more susceptible to degradation, though the underlying factors differ among these areas. Land system 826 is not susceptible to erosion (average credibility); however, a significant portion of its territory is of low fertility (32%). Land systems 825 and 828 differ from 826 in that they are much more susceptible to erosion, due both to topography and soil physical characteris- tics. Land system 825 is also characterizedby below-average fertility. There are two other centers of cultivation that remain to be discussed—the

Land Degradation in the Peruvian Amazon

31

Upper Ucayali between Atalayaand the Pachitea (land systems 836 and 838), and the Puerto Maldonado area (land systems 405, 408, and 833). Land sys- tems 836 and 83 8 are both predominantly alluvial.They are not susceptible to erosion and are of above-averagefertility.This area seems to present little risk for degradation. However, should cultivation expand outside of the valley on the east bank of the Ucayali, there would be significant prospects for land degradation. The Puerto Maldonado area is a mixture of alluvial and upland environ- ments in close proximity to one another. Land systems 405 and 408 contain both types of land while 833 is predominantly (90%) upland. Land systems

405 and 408 are susceptible to degradation due to the significant portions of low-fertility land. In reality the 70 to 80% of "average-fertility" land in these land systems is below average, falling just outside the cutoff point of "low- fertility" land, so the situation is more precarious than Table 2.9 indicates. Land system 833 has a high potential for degradation due to its large amounts

of very highly credible land and its low fertility.

Discussion

Based on this analysis, four areas, comprising nine land systems, can be iden- tified as "at risk" in terms of agriculturally induced land degradation. Six ex- tensively cultivated areas, located on flatter and more fertile alluvial soils, are predicted not to be undergoing a process of land degradation. The four "at risk" areas are:

Area 1: the Alto Mayo-Tarapoto middle to upper Huallaga region (land systems 804, 810, and 855)

Area 2: the area adjacent to the Pucallpa-Lima road from km 15-150 (land systems 826 and 828)

Area 3: the Yurimaguas uplands (land system 825)

Area 4: the Puerto Maldonado area, particularly north of Puerto Maldonado along the Puerto Maldonado-Iberia road (land systems 405, 408, and 833).

This listing corresponds to the order of importance of these areasin terms of agricultural production, the areal extent of land degradation problems, and the number of people whose livelihoods are affected by land degradation.

Testing the Results: A Brief Review of Existing Research

A major question arising from this research is the degree to which it actually

succeeds in identifying areas undergoing land degradation. While it isnot pos- sible to answerthis question definitively until field researchdesigned specifically

to

test the results of this research is carriedout, a brief review of existingresearch

in

these areas can begin to providesome insight into the utility of this method.

38

Anthropology, Space, and Geographic Information Systems

Area 1:This area encompasses most of the cultivated area of the Depart- ment of San Martin. Agroecologically the region is atypical in that it has sub- stantial areas of relatively fertile, nonacid (calcareous) soils even in uplands away from major rivers. Rainfall is also quite variable in the region, ranging from semiarid (850 mm per annum) to humid (>2000 mm). The region has long been recognized as one of the most fertile in the Peruvian Amazon and has been the object of numerous colonization and development initiatives.

Socioeconomically, the region is one of long-term settlement with relatively high population density (ranging from 2.1 to 38.6 inhabitants/km 2 ). In the late 1970s, road access to the region was improved with the construction of the Carretera Marginal de la Selva, which facilitated a massive influx of settlers. While much of this migration has been directed to the expansion of irrigated rice on the relatively flat lands of the Alto Mayo region (the 8% of average- erodibility lands in land system 804), there has alsobeen a dramaticincrease in shifting cultivation ofmaizeon the surrounding hillsides (see Foster Chaparro, n.d., OIT/DGE 1984, for information on this process). Agricultural statistics document a dramatic expansion of irrigated rice and maize cultivation in San Martin; in the period from 1980-88 area in irrigated rice increased from about

than tripled (from 29,774

to 61,555 ha.) Maize and rice cultivation were stimulated by the provision of low-interest credit, a guaranteed market, and price supports for maize (see Cannock and Cuadra 1990 for a discussion of these issues). The local economy has also been strongly influenced by the expansion of coca cultivation and, in recent years, seriously affected by political and drug-related destabilization. Recently, a multiyear study of land degradation in the region was carried out by Peru's Office for Natural Resource Evaluation (ONERN) in connec- tion with the United Nations Environmental Program (here referred to by its Spanish acronym, PNUMA; see ONERN/PNUMA, in press). The study docu- mented rapid deforestation in the region with the expansion of cultivation, including areas deemed unsuited for cultivation by ONERN due to their steep topography. Among the problems cited by the ONERN/PNUMA study are excessive erosion, increased siltation of waterways, and invasion of substantial areas by scrub vegetation, indicative of acidification and degradation of the

4500 to

over 20,000 ha, while the area in maize more

soil. Thus the method employed here independently corroborates the finding of this field study, supporting its results. For our purposes, the ONERN/ PNUMA study provides empirical support for the method employed here to detect and delimit land degradation.

Area 2: This area corresponds to the cultivated area along the Pucallpa to Lima road, from 15 to 150 km from Pucallpa. Agroecologically, this area is more representative of conditions in the selva baja of the Peruvian Amazon and the Amazon Basin in general. Soils in the uplands are highly acid and infertile. Topography is flat to undulating, with steeper slopes to the west as one approaches the Andean foothills. Climate varies from subhumid (three months with rainfall of less than 100 mm, total precipitation 1800 mm) to perhumid (no months <100 mm of rain, total precipitation over 3000 mm).

Land Degradation in the Peruvian Amazon

39

Flat terrain is characterized by extensive areas of poor drainage occupied by palm forest (known locally as aguajalesMauritiaflexuosa). Well-drained up- lands and uncultivated alluvial soils are characterized by species-rich tropical forest (both true rain forest and semievergreen seasonal forest). Socioeconomi- cally the area is also one of long-term colonization, having been opened up for settlement with the construction of the Huanuco-Tingo Maria-Pucallpa sec- tion of the highway in the 1940s. However, the real boom in settlement oc- curred with the improvement of the highway in the 1960s, drawing massive numbers of colonists in the 1960s and early 1970s, a pe