Simulated impact of paleoclimate change on Fremont Native American maize farming in Utah, 850–1449 CE, using crop and climate models

Thomson M ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5693-0245, Balkovic J ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-2955-4931, Krisztin T, & MacDonald G (2019). Simulated impact of paleoclimate change on Fremont Native American maize farming in Utah, 850–1449 CE, using crop and climate models. Quarternary International 507: 95-107. DOI:10.1016/j.quaint.2018.09.031.

[img] Text
finalproof_JQI_7556.pdf - Accepted Version
Restricted to Repository staff only until September 2020.
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.

Download (3MB)

Abstract

The Fremont were members of an expansive maize-based Ancestral Puebloan (AP) cultural complex who disappeared from Utah between the 12th and 13th centuries CE. This period brackets that of a climatic transition in the Southwest from the warm, dry Medieval Climate Anomaly (MCA, ca. 850–1350 CE) to the cool, hydro-climatically variable Little Ice Age (LIA, ca. 1350–1850 CE). We simulated maize (Zea mays) crop productivity for Fremont AP archaeological sites in Utah between 850 and 1449 CE using a process-based crop model driven by climatologies from a statistically downscaled a climate model. We compared the model-simulated crop yields to time-series of archaeological site occupations given by spatially discrete, chronologically summed probability distributions (SPDs) of radiocarbon-dated Fremont artifacts. We found that the anomalous abandonment of different sites throughout Utah may be explained by site-specific combinations of reduced mean yield due to volatile year-to-year yields caused by increasing temperature variability, increasing hydro-climatic variability, and loss of soil quality, which depended on crop management strategy. In other words, we model the elimination of the Fremont AP ecological niche by exogenous influences of temperature and precipitation variability at the MCA-LIA transition and endogenous degradation of soil from organic carbon and nitrogen loss. Our method has broad applicability to contexts of low-technology, dryland farming human-environmental interactions.

Item Type: Article
Research Programs: Ecosystems Services and Management (ESM)
Young Scientists Summer Program (YSSP)
Depositing User: Luke Kirwan
Date Deposited: 21 Sep 2018 06:28
Last Modified: 24 Apr 2019 14:50
URI: http://pure.iiasa.ac.at/15472

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item

International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)
Schlossplatz 1, A-2361 Laxenburg, Austria
Phone: (+43 2236) 807 0 Fax:(+43 2236) 71 313