Comment to Rull et al. (2013) - Challenging Easter Island's Collapse : the need for interdisciplinary synergies
The road to deforestation and its social feedback on Rapa Nui is a fascinating and a possibly important parable; one with symbolic implications for how the rest of the world views environmental change and human impact. Rull et al. (2013) present a compilation and critique of Rapa Nui's paleoecological and archeological data that is critical for progressing further work on the island, and state that Rapa Nui was subject of a gradual environmental change instead of rapid deforestation. The authors interpret the slower pace of deforestation as evidence for gradual social change, supported by Mulrooney (2013) recent archeological investigation in La Pérouse Bay (Figure 1), therefore contradicting the hypothesis of an abrupt ecocidal collapse of Easter Island's prehistoric society (Diamond, 1994). In order to advance their interpretations, the authors suggest a closer collaboration between archeology and paleoecology and propose a research agenda.