Washington, DC

Williamson and Sabath (1982) have demonstrated a significant relationship between modern population size and environment by examining atoll area and rainfall in the Marshall Islands. The present work seeks to extend that argument into prehistory by examining the relationship of ancient habitation sites and size of aroid pit agricultural systems to atoll land area and rainfall regime along the 1,500-3,500 mm precipitation gradient in the Marshall Islands.

Although the term biodiversity emerged from the pool of obscure jargon quite a few years ago, it is still enshrouded with significant ambiguity. At one extreme, some people use it as a loose synonym for nature. At the other extreme, some people reduce biodiversity to simplistic parameters, such as the number of species. Conservation organizations, both private and public, must navigate these waters with great care.