Chapter

Modeling Agricultural Productivity and Farming Effort

Timothy A. Kohler

in Emergence and Collapse of Early Villages

Published by University of California Press

Published in print April 2012 | ISBN: 9780520270145
Published online September 2012 | e-ISBN: 9780520951990 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1525/california/9780520270145.003.0006
Modeling Agricultural Productivity and Farming Effort

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We describe how we integrated variability in precipitation and temperature through time and across our study area with variabilityin soils to produce plausible estimates of potential maize production for each year from AD 600 to 1300, for each of the 45,400 4-ha cells in the study area. We produce Palmer Drought Severity Indices (PDSIs) as an intermediate step in this process. Tree-ring-widths provide estimates of annual temperature and precipitation variability needed for the PDSIs. Potential production is calibrated from a 30-year mid-twentieth-century series of production records from southwestern Colorado, adjusted to take into account use of prehispanic maize, different prehispanic cultivation practices, and the possibility of soil-nutrient depletion under continuous cultivation. Agents' time budgets for farming the resultant landscape are similar to those documented ethnographically for small-scale societies.

Keywords: maize; Palmer Drought Severity Index; PDSI; precipitation; temperature; soils; soil depletion; time budgets; farming; Village Ecodynamics Project

Chapter.  12924 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Anthropology

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