A GIS investigation of indigenous intensification of native food plants : humans as environmental variable in maxent habitat suitability modeling of Camassia in Oregon Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/graduate_thesis_or_dissertations/p5547w48v

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  • This thesis merges the fields of Ecology and Anthropology by applying Habitat Suitability Modeling to the relationship between people and plants in the Pacific Northwest. In it, I create and optimize two Maxent habitat suitability models for camas (Camassia spp.) in Oregon. The first model describes the physical environment of camas using precipitation and maximum temperature. The second model incorporates the cultural environment of camas by adding cultural centrality and cost distance to known earth ovens. Cultural centrality is inferred by combining culture and language area maps of the Pacific Northwest around Euroamerican contact. Centrality is measured by agreement between these maps, peripherality is measured by disagreement. Earth ovens, used to prepare camas for human consumption, are mapped on a slope map of Oregon to measure cost distance--the energy necessary to travel--to the nearest known oven. The first (ecological) model performs acceptably well, but the second (socioecological) model outperforms the first on standard measures which reward fit and penalize complexity. This demonstrates a strong relationship between indigenous cultural geography and the distribution of camas on the Oregon landscape, visible through centuries of nonindigenous landscape management with a necessarily incomplete dataset.
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  • 2013-06-15
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