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Project: Environmental and climatic change on Easter Island with emphasis on the late quarternary and the activity of man.An interdisciplinary approach.

project duration
01-JAN-96 – 31-DEC-99
abstract
The submitted research program aims to provide a better understanding of the interactions that took place between man and environment on Easter Island (Chile). On account of its isolated location, small surface area, the late arrival of the first Polynesian settlers and not in the slightest the very limited external influence experienced by their culture, there is no doubt that Easter Island is an outstanding and unique field of research for elaborating a reliable model of environmental evolution. Earlier cntributions were mainly concerned with separate topics regarding the natural and cultural context. Unfortunately, they neglected to study and evaluate possible interactions between two or more of these subjects of research. It is one of the main purposes of this interdisciplinary scientific project to fill this knowledge gap by documenting and describing several new aspects regarding the vegetation, geology, pedology, geomorphology and climate of the isle.In concert with the studies in the field of natural history, new data with reference to the mutual dependence between culture and physical environment will be collected through the analysis of ancient Rapanui wooden sculptures.