Patrick Cowsill's Reviews > Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed

Collapse by Jared Diamond
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's review
Aug 06, 2009

it was amazing
bookshelves: non-fiction-general
I own a copy

Diamond is a great writer. I look at the world differently now:

Lithic mulch agriculture: the Polynesians on Easter Island used it, as did/do other societies farming in dry regions. They put rocks on their fields (instead of removing them like 99 percent of their farming peers). The rocks keep the soil from blowing away or being eroded when it does rain. The rocks also keep moisture in the earth, by keeping the earth cool during the day. At night, they transfer heat absorbed from the sun. Diamond points out that dark rocks are more effective in this regard. Long term, minerals are leeched from the rocks down, providing nutrients for crops. The growing process is for lithic mulch agriculture is slow, but doesn't require much attention either, freeing farmers for fishing and hunting.

BTW, rocks cannot be carbon dated.

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