Ecological Processes in Coastal and Marine Systems

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Dynamics of populations and assemblages

Throughout, the usual miniaturization of the scope of discussion was subordinate to a frank appraisal of the present status of marine research. There is, in fact, a real need for system-wide studies at both the theoretical and applied levels.

Marine and Coastal Processes and Hazards - Earth and Life Science

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Show next xx. Read this book on SpringerLink. Based on field observations, whether a wall was built depends on the size and slope of the beach, and the location of the sea shelf, and possibly local ecological factors. Clearing beaches of large cobbles may increase spat recruitment but determining this requires ecological experiments. Finally, we have noted that the very building of a clam garden wall, or any intertidal or sub-tidal rock feature e. Although archaeologists have largely missed these subtle manipulations of marine ecosystems, they represent an important part of ancient management systems.

On the Northwest Coast, as elsewhere, traditional tenure systems are fundamental to sustained marine resource management e. Such systems of ownership were embedded in larger hereditary kin- and status-based social networks e. Tenure associated with marine resources was asserted through the ownership of fish harvesting locations e.

Claims to marine resources and ecosystems were made in a variety of ways cf. Turner and Jones Ownership markers on the landscape, such as permanent harvesting features fish traps, clam garden walls , cleared beaches, or now more elusive signals, such as pictographs, stories, and place names, would be known and recognized by people both within and outside of a community Turner and Jones Access to resources could also be controlled through the use of specialized equipment e.

At the Hoko Rockshelter in northwestern Washington, Croes suggests that a tight standard deviation around the mean age of harvested California mussels and increased use of other taxa to reduce pressure when mussel populations are stressed indicates management of the resource, possibly through territorial ownership and control over harvesting. However, Daniels argues that expanding diet breadth when high-ranked resources are stressed is an optimal foraging strategy that would not necessarily indicate active management.

In some areas of the coast, lineage-owned names were given to individual fish traps Blackman ; De Laguna , thus tying a lineage to the use of particular traps. At least in the post-contact era, access to a resource harvesting location was gained through permission by the owner or through marriage ties Turner and Jones In places where weirs crossed entire rivers, blocking movement of fish, the owner of a weir would catch as much fish as needed and then open all or part of their weir to allow fish to move on to the next weir Gunther ; Suttles Classic clam gardens provide a good example of the role of permanent harvesting features in tenure systems.

Stern records that a clam garden was owned by those who had cleared it; unmanaged clam beds could be used by anyone. This suggests that the act of clearing a beach, like that of clearing a camas plot or building a fish trap Turner and Jones , established some kind of claim of ownership to the clam bed. Archaeologically, the permanence and high visibility of classic clam gardens makes them ideal for assessing ancient systems of ownership. Ancient tenure systems are detected in the archaeological record in diverse ways. Often, ownership is assumed through proximity of sites.

Indexation - Référencement

That is, some or all of the people within the settlement closest to the resource procurement site are assumed to have controlled access to that location. The presence of a unique set of marine taxa in contemporaneous zooarchaeological assemblages can also be used to signal access to discrete, family-owned harvesting areas Calvert ; McKechnie In some cases, the zooarchaeological record suggests that resources were shared among several communities living within a well-defined marine area e. A significant aspect of the worldview of Northwest Coast peoples is the relationship between humans and non-human kin e.

By providing a framework for how to treat non-human kin respectfully, people were discouraged from taking more than was needed from the natural world. Archaeological examples of partially dismantled weirs may represent a similar set of protocols and beliefs Losey Protocols and rituals had to be followed or a resource, such as a run of fish, would fail to return in subsequent years Jones For instance, stemming from the widespread belief that the life force of living beings is held in the bones and that life can be regenerated from the bones Carlson , many groups required that all salmon remains be returned to the water after processing.

This practice ensured the return of salmon the following year e. Northwest Coast peoples participated in a variety of rituals that affirmed their connection to their ocean-bound kin. The most widespread example is the ethnographically documented First Salmon Ceremony Amoss ; Berman ; Gunther , ; cf.

Swezey and Heizer Some groups also celebrated the return of other important species, such as herring and eulachon, with similar ceremonies Drucker ; Hamori-Torok ; Kennedy and Bouchard ; neighboring groups in California practiced the First Sea Lion Hunt Gould Archaeological evidence for rituals in general is elusive but comes in the imagery and masks that reflect the connection among people, animals, and the spirit and tangible worlds e.

Coming together for the First Salmon Ceremony, to fish communally, and to gather shellfish and other resources provided opportunities to reinforce social relations and cultural knowledge and to maintain kinship ties through feasting, trading, and other social events. Situating resource use within this larger social system ensured that cultural regulations were followed, that resources were tended properly, and that the system of ownership and control of resources continued Turner and Jones Management of marine resources was enacted both directly through choices about when, where, and how to harvest and tend resources and indirectly through social relations and rules about the right way to behave.

Collectively, the marine management system resulted in long-term sustained and sometimes enhanced production of targeted resources. Contra Alvard ; Alvard and Kuznar , aspects of conservation embedded in Northwest Coast marine management systems can not be viewed as unintentional consequences of low population densities and simple technology. In fact, the high population densities of Northwest Coast peoples Ubelaker made active management of marine resources even that much more important.

As Anderson suggests, since technologies such as nets and traps have the potential to wipe out salmon stocks, the healthy pre-contact salmon stocks must reflect conscious choices made to preserve salmon populations. Given the fundamental importance of marine resources in the livelihoods of Northwest Coast peoples, the sheer abundance of these remains in millennia-old archaeological middens, and the well-documented aspects of terrestrial management systems, discussions of human-marine interaction on the Northwest Coast should begin with the assumption that active management was widespread in the past.

In discussions of traditional resource management systems, the question of intentionality often arises. The issue of intention becomes particularly relevant when considering ancient management systems whose complex behaviors are usually represented by relatively simplified archaeological footprints. In our experience and that of other ethnographers on the Northwest Coast e.

Caldwell , current ecological knowledge holders are well aware of the consequences of their management actions, whether played out in the physical or metaphysical realms. We can seldom know for certain if such awareness extended into pre-contact times, or whether the acts that resulted in conserving were intentional from the outset or were simply accidental byproducts of other harvesting choices e.

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However, the archaeological evidence for clam management size standardization, clam gardens, etc. Furthermore, indigenous peoples, because of their connections to and reliance on their natural surroundings, are often keen observers of ecological processes, and thus would have been quick to realize the benefits of their management actions c. We further suggest that archaeologists sometimes stumble over the idea of intention because they fail to see the larger management system embedded within the physical remains associated with the archaeological record.

Living in marine sediments

For instance, a fish trap, which is what remains for archaeologists to record, is not in and of itself a management system. Rather, the use of that fish trap is embedded within a series of socio-economic actions and contexts that result in decisions about where to build the fish trap, when to use it, how much to catch, how much to release, the size of fish targeted, and who has access to the trap or net.

These decisions are further embedded within larger networks of tenure, world views, and social relations that create enduring relationships among the people, resources, and the built environment.

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In recognizing the extent of ancient marine management systems, we do not deny that Northwest Coast peoples sometimes negatively affected their marine environment. Given the high population numbers and complex socio-economic systems that supported and were supported by these large human populations, it would be highly surprising if humans did not have some kind of negative ecological footprint.

The ecological effects of long-term efficient and extensive marine exploitation are evident in some zooarchaeological records that suggest locally depressed numbers of fish and sea mammals Butler ; McKechnie ; Szpak et al. The extant evidence indicates that beyond these local effects, regional fish populations were consistently at high levels of abundance Campbell and Butler The ethnographic and archaeological records demonstrate that Northwest Coast marine management was enacted on different spatial and temporal social and ecological scales.

Ecologically, resources were managed at the species level e. Ecosystem level management resulted in anthropogenic landscapes which attracted resources, increased and diversified habitats, and increased productivity.

At social scales, management was enacted by individuals working alone and in groups and was part of daily actions and larger-scale ritual events. These various scales of actions are not equally well represented in the ethnographic and archaeological records. Ethnographic data will always tend to highlight the more subtle, daily and often local actions involved in management and traditional ecological knowledge, whereas the archaeological record will tell the story of more dramatic landscape modifications and the cumulative actions of many events.

This discrepancy between ethnographic and archaeological records is exemplified in the study of the Straits Salish reef net fishery. Based on ethnographic descriptions, we understand that this complex form of harvesting salmon involved extensive ecological knowledge which was embedded in a web of social relations, intergenerational knowledge sharing, ritual practices, and understandings of how the world works Turner and Berkes ; Stewart ; Suttles In contrast, archaeological research on reef net fishing is limited to attempts at finding concrete evidence of this practice and dating its occurrence in the past, albeit with limited success Boxberger ; Easton , ; Moore and Mason ; Rozen Considered together, the ethnographic and archaeological records provide complimentary information on traditional marine management systems.

The strength of the archaeological record is that it provides tangible evidence of the deep history and evolution of resource management over time and across space. Ethnographic information, including past and present ecological knowledge, place names, and oral historical and personal stories, provides insights into the less tangible aspects of management e. Sometimes, however, this information is not situated within a firm temporal framework, and changes over time can be condensed.

Furthermore, whereas ethnographic information provides personal and family-based perspectives on resource management, it is less likely to inform about how management systems were enacted among multiple settlements. Thus, it is only by combining these two kinds of data and knowledge that we can fully appreciate the breadth of social, cultural, ecological, and technical contexts in which these management systems were enacted. The value of documenting traditional marine management systems on the Northwest Coast goes well beyond recording important aspects of indigenous history. Recognizing the ecological and cultural place of these systems is linked to larger issues of indigenous rights and title, governance, and food security, as well as the value of integrating millennia-old indigenous knowledge with modern resource management.

Given the coast-wide need to manage resources to sustain social and ecological resilience, it behooves us to pay careful attention to documenting this past knowledge for the future. She is interested in the social and ecological impacts of past human interactions with their environments, particularly in the Pacific Northwest of North America.

Threats to the coastal zone

Her research program has been strengthened considerably by her collaborations with knowledge holders from diverse academic and non-academic communities. Alvard M: Intraspecific prey choice by Amazonian hunters. Curr Anth , 36 5 — Alvard M, Kuznar L: Deferred harvests: the transition from hunting to animal husbandry.

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Talonbooks, Vancouver: Sliammon lands; Langdon SJ: Tidal pulse fishing: selective traditional Tlingit salmon fishing techniques on the west coast of the Prince of Wales Archipelago. In Traditional ecological knowledge and natural resource management. Edited by: Menzies CR. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press; Anchorage: Fisheries Resource Monitoring Program; b. The Midden , 37 1 — Hoboken: Wiley-Blackwell; — Lepofsky D, Kahn J: Cultivating an ecological and social balance: elite demands and commoner knowledge in ancient Maohi agriculture, Society Islands.

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