How does the concept of "Forest Efficiency" help to illuminate the major development of the Archaic period?

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beateach eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The subsistence strategy known as "forest efficiency" entails the seasonal harvesting of natural resources in order to develop a sustainable living environment. During the Archaic Period this concept led to the growth of the population and the establishment of more permanent Native settlements.

During the Archaic Era, the Native Peoples learned to harvest indigenous nuts, berries, vegetables, and seasonally available seafood in an extremely efficient manner. They supplemented the seasonal food by hunting animals and seafood that was available year round.

The Native People's thrived through this method of life increasing in number, developing new tools for hunting, and establishing social structures. Based on the archeological evidence early in the Archaic Period native groups were smaller more nuclear groups, but late in the era evidence shows that the groups became larger with more social structures in place. Artifacts show evidence of the changes in tools and arrowheads that made for more efficient hunting. In addition, there is evidence of tools for grinding grain, and nets for fishing which point to a more efficient ways of feeding a denser population.

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pohnpei397 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The concept of "forest efficiency" holds that Native Americans in the Archaic Age learned how to be as efficient as possible in the use of the resources that were available to them in the forest.  That is, they were able to learn which foods were most easily available at which times and places.

This efficiency is said to have led to the development of more complex societies among Native Americans.  It allowed for greater population densities in permanent settlements.  It also led to the development of more technology that was specifically adapted to the food resources that were available.  In this way, it helped make the Indian societies more complex both socially (because of the dense settlements) and technologically.