The role of natural disasters has been largely overlooked in studies of South Pacific historical ecology. To highlight the importance of rapid-onset natural hazards, we focus on the contributions of volcanism in shaping landscape histories. Results of long-term research in the Willaumez Peninsula on New Britain in Papua New Guinea illustrate the wide range and complexity of potential relationships between volcanic activity and human responses. Despite frequent severe volcanic impacts, human groups have responded creatively to these challenges and over time may have developed particular strategies that coped with the demands of repeated refuging and recolonization
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