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Forests or Deserts | Class Package (Slide Show, Notes, Article)

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Is the Amazon rainforest a feral forest garden? Based on an enormous amount of mounting evidence – from the domestication of dozens of woody species of plants to the Amazonian biochar soils (terra preta) - we hypothesize that traditional Amazonian peoples practiced regenerative horticultural techniques (like food forestry) for centuries, & that the Amazon rainforest has a larger human fingerprint than previously believed. Their example provides a model of how regenerative agricultural practices could sustain a large, thriving population.

This is a complete class package for teachers and students to dive deep into the uncoverings of an abundant regenerative past of the peoples of the Amazon rainforest; and the package includes an in-depth article illuminating these uncoverings.

What It Will Do For You:
This class package will give you a deeper understanding of the history of the Amazon rainforest from primary source documentation, and help you to dive into the current archaeological findings pointing to an Amazonian region that was once much more densely populated and significantly more agriculturally abundant than it is today. It is designed to empower teachers, students, and permaculturists with the evidence necessary to show that another abundant, regenerative horticultural model is emerging from what was once considered by some to be a "green desert" – the Amazon rainforest.

Contents of this Class Package:
A slide show presentation based on the article.
This presentation includes illuminating images and text supporting the above hypothesis of an abundant Amazonia. It includes images and texts which offer: historical background, geographical information, primary source material, insight into first peoples' lifestyles, how the Amazon got its name, European exploration of the region, the myth of a "virgin" Amazonian jungle, Amazonian pottery studies, earthworks, fish ponds, roadways, urban planning, terra preta (Amazonian Dark Earths / biochar soils), slash-and-char horticulture v. slash-and-burn agriculture, Amazonian geoglyphs, chocolate agroforestry plots, manioc gardens, megalithic structures in the Amazon, tropical plant domestication, population sizes before and after disease pandemics, modern-day deforestation, traditional horticulture, permaculture, restoration agriculture, syntropic agroforestry, successional agroforestry, and edible forest gardenening.
• The slide show presentation includes 76 content-rich slides.
• The slide show presentation takes roughly 3 hours to deliver – including a 30 minute Question-and-Answer session. Also, the slide show presentation may be given multiple shorter sessions - or even edited down as needed - in order to fit the needs and context of the presentation.

Sample Slides:

Notes included:
Notes that follow each slide for the teacher and/or the student(s).
• The class package includes 34 pages of comprehensive presentation delivery notes with citation links.

Article included:
The article "A Choice: Forests or Deserts – Lessons from the Amazon" by Loxley (first published in Permaculture Design Magazine's February-Spring edition [No. 115] issue) which hypothesizes that the large human population of pre-European contact Amazonia was practicing sophisticated traditional agroforestry which resulted in an abundance of food, fuel, fiber, timber, medicine, and spiritual plants to support their large and artistically expressive population.
• The article is 5,000+ words and 66 citations.

Bibliography included:
A comprehensive bibliography full of sources and citations used in the research of the article as well as the creation of the class presentation.
• The bibliography is 11 pages-long with hyperlinks to all sources used to create this heavily cited resource.

Instructions included:
Instructions on how to give the class "Forests or Deserts: a Choice" for teachers, as well as instructions on how to study the material on your own for self-directed students or small study groups.
• This class package includes 3 pages of detailed instructions.

In summary, this class package includes a detailed and heavily researched: 1. Article, 2. Slide show presentation (both in Powerpoint format & in PDF format [2 files]), 3. Presentation notes, 4. Bibliography, 5. Instructions on best practices for using the class package... for a total of 6 (six) documents. When you purchase, be sure you download each of the documents. When you purchase, please be sure you download all six of the files.

All of these contents have been designed to empower teachers, students, and permaculturists with the evidence necessary to show that there is yet another horticultural model that sets an abundant, regenerative precedent that can inspire what is possible for the future.

Who This Is For:
This class presentation, class notes, and supportive resources are designed to be useful and engaging for:
• Teachers wanting to present to their students on this topic
• Self-directed students or small study groups wanting to learn more about this topic
• Permaculturists interested in actual historical examples of regenerative horticulture

The class package has been created with the hopes that it will be used by teachers and students across a broad range of disciplines as it can easily be given and received for diverse subject matters. We envision it being used by humanities / social studies teachers and students (more specifically the fields of anthropology, archaeology, art history, ethnobotany, geography, history, etc.) as well as science teachers and students (more specifically the fields of agriculture, ecology, environmental science, horticulture, life science, soil science, epidemiology, etc.). The material can easily be modified to be presented to either university-level, high school-level, or middle school-level learners. For example, modifications may include more thorough explanations for - or elimination of - technical jargon and / or the exclusion of more technical bibliography source citations for younger learners.

With the proper resources (eg. printouts, a projector, computers, and/or video conferencing software), this class can be successfully given or received either in person in a physical classroom setting or online in a virtual classroom setting. This offering is designed for any capable presenter to be able to adapt and deliver it with confidence for their particular needs and situation. Also, if desired, the creator of the presentation is available to give this class live to any interested group – online or in person. Contact us here for this option.


Grace Pretre, Ramana's 'Āina Farm Sanctuary wrote:If you want to know about great civilizations and how sustainable they were, how they survived in nature for thousands of years, this is of great value. If you’re interested in the history of the Amazon and agriculture in general, I would highly recommend this class, it was very eye opening for me.

Adam Hicks, Malauwao Farm wrote:A powerful, inspiring, and so very timely presentation. Congratulations on such a wonderful exploration and original thinking on this important history. Thank you for your tenacity in both learning deeply and sharing comprehensively with such easy clarity.

Kyle Clarkin, Family Farmer Training Network wrote:The lectures you gave were some of the best I've ever had. Engaging and inspiring.

This class package was created by the founders of BackyardRegeneration.com and StoryConnective.org.
Collectively, the creators of this class package have twenty years of teaching experience, fifteen years of regenerative farming and gardening experience, completed compost tea courses, mycology courses, soil advocacy courses, six Permaculture Design Courses, have a degree in history, a degree in communications, and have completed numerous field study trips to regenerative and permaculture projects all over the world.

Creative Commons License:
Our intention is that you can use and edit this class package as needed. If you would like to add content, subtract content, or modify the content in any way, our intention is to empower you to do so. For this reason we have released all of the files in this class package under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-SA 4.0) license. As long as you follow the terms of the license agreement (which essentially entails properly citing BackyardRegeneration.com and StoryConnective.org as the original producers of the content and licensing any modified material under the same Creative Commons CC BY-SA 4.0 license) you are free to modify and use the content as you see fit.

Please PM me if you have any questions or issues. This is my first digital marketplace offering so PM is also helpful for troubleshooting purposes.

Forests or Deserts Class Package (Slide Show, Notes, Article)


Forests or Deserts | Class Package (Slide Show, Notes, Article)
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Seller Mike Kenzie
Mike Kenzie
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Location: wanderer
forest garden fungi foraging bike homestead
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We'd like to share a highlight from the bibliography in this Forests or Deserts Class Package:

C. Levis wrote:Past human influences on Amazonian forest
The marks of prehistoric human societies on tropical forests can still be detected today. Levis et al. performed a basin-wide comparison of plant distributions, archaeological sites, and environmental data. Plants domesticated by pre-Columbian peoples are much more likely to be dominant in Amazonian forests than other species. Furthermore, forests close to archaeological sites often have a higher abundance and richness of domesticated species. Thus, modern-day Amazonian tree communities across the basin remain largely structured by historical human use.

The extent to which pre-Columbian societies altered Amazonian landscapes is hotly debated. We performed a basin-wide analysis of pre-Columbian impacts on Amazonian forests by overlaying known archaeological sites in Amazonia with the distributions and abundances of 85 woody species domesticated by pre-Columbian peoples. Domesticated species are five times more likely than nondomesticated species to be hyperdominant. Across the basin, the relative abundance and richness of domesticated species increase in forests on and around archaeological sites. In southwestern and eastern Amazonia, distance to archaeological sites strongly influences the relative abundance and richness of domesticated species. Our analyses indicate that modern tree communities in Amazonia are structured to an important extent by a long history of plant domestication by Amazonian peoples.

Source: C. Levis et al. "Persistent effects of pre-Columbian plant domestication on Amazonian forest composition". 03 Mar 2017. ScienceMag.org

Amazonian grape (Pourouma cecropiifolia) by Dick Culbert CC-BY 2.0
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