The impact of human activities on the natural environment of the Canary Islands (Spain) during the pre-Hispanic stage (3rd–2nd Century BC to 15th Century AD): an overview

Abstract

This paper presents a brief review of archaeological evidence for the impact of the pre-Hispanic population on the environment of the Canary Islands. Prior to human colonisation, the archipelago was an untouched environment with high botanical and faunal biodiversity. The first human settlement can be traced to the early 1st millennium BC; this period of settlement finished at the end of the 15th century AD when the Spanish Crown conquered the archipelago. It has often been assumed that the pre-Hispanic population had little significant impact on the islands’ ecosystems. However, abundant evidence for faunal extinctions, deforestation and soil erosion has been recovered from archaeological sites across the islands. This indicates that pre-Hispanic colonisers introduced cultivated plants, opened up the forests to create fields and cut woody vegetation for fuel. They also introduced domestic animals and alien predators resulting in a major depletion of native fauna.

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Cite this paper

@inproceedings{Morales2009TheIO, title={The impact of human activities on the natural environment of the Canary Islands (Spain) during the pre-Hispanic stage (3rd–2nd Century BC to 15th Century AD): an overview}, author={Jacob Morales and Amelia Rodrı́guez and Ver{\'o}nica Alberto and Carmen L{\'u}cia Bezerra Machado and Constantino Criado and Juan Carlos Rando}, year={2009} }