New research challenges Easter Island “ecocide” theory

The accepted view that the Rapa Nui, the ancient inhabitants of Easter Island, degraded their environment so much that they destroyed its ability to provide for them now appears to be wrong. New research discussed in the COSMOS article Collapse of Easter Island theory and BBC Four documentary Easter Island: Mysteries of a Lost World reveals that while the Rapa Nui significantly modified the natural environment, they were able to address and manage the impacts of this through innovative and impressive land management practices. Rather than population collapse occurring prior to colonisation, it occurred after, and as a result of, European contact, just as the arrival of Europeans decimated Aboriginal populations in Australia.

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