Landscapes of Fire: Origins, Politics, and Questions

Authored by: Christian A. Kull

Handbook of Landscape Archaeology

Print publication date:  December  2008
Online publication date:  June  2016

Print ISBN: 9781598742947
eBook ISBN: 9781315427737
Adobe ISBN: 9781315427720

10.4324/9781315427737.ch41

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Abstract

Tany misy afo misy olona—Where there is fire, there are people” says a proverb in Madagascar. The mastery of fire defines humans more than any other trait. Fire is the most long-term and widespread way in which humans have shaped the surface of the earth. If it were not for fires lit by people, landscapes from the Great Plains of America to the savannas of Africa would look fundamentally different. Australia’s eucalypt savannas, Madagascar’s grasslands, Venezuela’s gran sabana, Norway’s coastal islands—what would they be without fire either today or in the past?

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