CR 39:111-114 (2009)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/cr00809

NOTE
Easter Island: climate change might have contributed to past cultural and societal changes

Nils Chr. Stenseth*, Kjetil Lysne Voje

Centre for Ecological and Evolutionary Synthesis (CEES), Department of Biology, University of Oslo, PO Box 1066 Blindern,
0316 Oslo, Norway

ABSTRACT: Proxy climate data for the Pacific Ocean show that the most intense El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) activity during the last millennium coincides with the most recent period of deforestation on Easter Island. We therefore raise the question as to whether an abrupt change in ENSO variability and its associated impact on the marine resources surrounding Easter Island might have been—for a population already under strain from a number of different pressures—the final stressor causing social collapse. Studies showing how this hypothesized interaction between climate, marine resources and human history on Easter Island could be investigated are discussed.


KEY WORDS: Easter Island · Marine resources · ENSO variability · Social collapse · Deforestation


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Cite this article as: Stenseth NC, Voje KL (2009) Easter Island: climate change might have contributed to past cultural and societal changes. Clim Res 39:111-114. https://doi.org/10.3354/cr00809

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