A new context for agroecology: establishing the foundation in the southeastern US considering the implications of climate change
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Agroecology is grounded in indigenous knowledge. Current agroecological research is primarily focused on Latin America, reflecting an area where substantial indigenous populations actively practice it. This project aimed to examine agroecology in the southeastern US as a possible practice given the forecasted climate change. A list of plant species used by the Siouan peoples was compiled from archaeobotanical records of Hillsborough, North Carolina. For three of these species (maize, nightshade, and sunflower), changes in the timing of key phenological stages were computed using Julian Day and growing-degree-days between 1950-2099 based on meteorological records and climatic model projections. Records indicate the use of 37 species that were cultivated and foraged. All three species showed decreases of 1.6-2.2 days/decade in the number of days required to reach maturation, which ranged from 137.7 to 227.7 days. Corn and nightshade showed similar decreases in total number of days to reach flowering, decreasing 1.6 days/decade and 1.5 days/decade respectively. However, sunflower had a 1.5 days/decade increase to reach flowering. This increase reflected that sunflower was beginning growth earlier but progressing slower, thus requiring a longer time to reach flowering. The indigenous knowledge of this region has potential to expand and challenge the dominant idea of local agriculture. However, the results indicate that the exact ways in which plants were cultivated and foraged cannot be replicated given the dramatic changes that will alter plant phenology timing within this century. Instead, this project highlights novel local plants that could be incorporated into diet and underscores the need for further research on plant response to climate change.
DepartmentEnvironmental Sciences and Policy
CitationSnyder, Sara (2018). A new context for agroecology: establishing the foundation in the southeastern US considering the implications of climate change. Honors thesis, Duke University. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10161/16766.
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Rights for Collection: Undergraduate Honors Theses and Student papers