I just read the extract posted on Allens books on line from Peter Andrew's second book. I have not read the second book - I am having trouble finding a copy. However I am responding to P. Andrew's comments about the flack he got about his interpretation of the role of aboriginal firestick farming.
I personally found that he dealt with the matter very well. However, a little while later, after the fires here, I started questioning the rate of firestick farming and someone sent me this article by Andrew Cambell: http://www.triplehelix.com.au/documents ... hfires.pdf
Frankly I found his qualified comments about the rate and extent of firestick farming made a lot of sense. That doesn't mean that I have made up my mind. I would be interested to hear other NSF peoples' responses to the article.
By the way I am in the middle of writing a book myself and this is what I found myself writing about deforestation, fire, climate and population growth, because I suddenly realised that humans, once able to use fire, would have overused it immediately:
Climate, vegetation and human population cycles
It is likely that recent ice-ages were associated with an earth covered by vast forests. With the discovery of fire, humans removed enormous stretches of forest in their hunting, driving species to extinction and temporarily supporting larger human populations. The use of fire must have created holocausts for animals and vegetation in many places.
Recent theory supports the observations of historians that forestation is vital for rainfall away from coasts. Other studies show that forest fires produce enormous amounts of carbon gases.
It should therefore not surprise that the razing of forests at earlier times probably changed the earth’s climate to a hotter drier one, coinciding with rising sea-levels as ice melted.
In these situations many human populations would have crashed, as their food-sources crashed and insects switched to human hosts as their preferred animal hosts died off, causing malaria and other important diseases.
With every human population crash, however, the forests would have grown back again, and with them the snow and ice would have returned to the colder latitudes. At some stage humans began to buffer their survival through the use of agriculture, and this became a very important new cause of forest depletion and biodiversity attrition.
There is evidence that deforestation-reforestation climate change cycles, with accompanying crashes of population, occurred during the classical eras and the middle ages, as well as the many signs that this cycle is reoccurring in the 21st century.