The Key Role of Jubaea Palm Trees in the History of Rapa Nui: A Provocative Interpretation
This paper presents an estimate of the number of Jubaea palm trees on Rapa Nui prior to the last clearance of the palm forest: more than 16 million palm trees. The labor requirements for clearance were enormous (a few hundred people were probably employed in this task for six to eight centuries), as well a the acquired amount of wood and the potential volume of the palm's sap (approx. 1,600,000 liter per year?). Possible uses of the palm's sap are discussed.