Saturday, May 01, 2021

Rainforests Were Manmade Food Gardens

wikipedia |  First aired on Thursday 23 June 2011. The final episode looks at the Amazon rainforest - billed as the world's last great wilderness. However, the discovery of geoglyphs uncovered following deforestation in the 1970s and terra preta, provide growing evidence for ancient cities in the heart of the 'virgin forest'.[5] Ondemar Dias is accredited with first discovering the geoglyphs in 1977 and Alceu Ranzi with furthering their discovery after flying over Acre.[6][7]

The documentary presents evidence that Francisco de Orellana, rather than exaggerating his claims as previously thought, was correct in his observations that a complex civilization was flourishing along the Amazon in the 1540s. It is believed that the civilization was later devastated by the spread of diseases from Europe, such as smallpox. Some 5 million people may have lived in the Amazon region in 1500, divided between dense coastal settlements, such as that at Marajó, and inland dwellers.[8] By 1900 the population had fallen to 1 million and by the early 1980s it was less than 200,000.[8]

The documentary features interviews with Betty Meggers, William Balée, Anna Roosevelt, José Iriarte, Eduardo Góes Neves, Cristiana Barreto, Francis Mayle, Denise Schaan and Michael Heckenberger.