GIS Reveals Extent of Early Hawaiian Agricultural Systems

…from The Nature Conservancy…

“Early Hawaiian agriculture was far more extensive and complex than anyone has fully understood, according to new research by scientists blending state-of-the-art technologies with traditional dirt archaeology.

“Until now, it has been difficult to prove the full scope of Hawaiian farming technology, said Samuel M. Gon III, ecologist, cultural advisor and senior scientist with The Nature Conservancy. “At the peak of Hawaiian population, there were perhaps a million people. It takes thousands and thousands of acres to feed all those people,” Gon said. Where was all that farmland?

“A new research tool has now identified thousands of farmed acres not previously known to science—including a vast dry-land agricultural field system in the grassy plains of Ka‘ū on the Big Island.”

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