A Reduced Landscape: Toward a Multi-Causal Understanding of Historic Period Agricultural Deintensification in Highland Peru

This article examines the effects of depopulation, resettlement, and the Little Ice Age on local patterns of historic-era Andean agricultural deintensification. Situated in the Colca Valley of Peru, this analysis employs walking simulations between a colonial reducción village (Coporaque) and the locations of its reconstructed 17th century fieldholdings. Multivariate analysis shows how increased frost risk (due to the Little Ice Age) and increased distance to fieldholdings (due to resettlement) impacted the decisionmaking of local, dualistically-organized kindreds (ayllus) in distinct ways. For lower-ranking ayllus in this dualistic structure, distance outweighed frost risk, while for higher ranking ayllus, frost risk was more important. Colonial demographic decline was a distal factor for both.