People and the land through time : linking ecology and history / Emily W. B. (Russell) Southgate.Publisher: New Haven : Yale University Press, Edition: Second edition.Description: xvi, 312 p. : ill., maps ; 24 cm.ISBN: 9780300225808 : (pbk.).Subject(s): Human ecology | Nature conservation | Nature -- Effect of human beings on | Agriculture -- Environmental aspects | Natural resources -- Management | Land use -- United States | Natural historyDDC classification: 577.09
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First edition: 1997.
Includes bibliographical references (pages 251-297) and index.
Part I. Questions and clues -- 1. History hidden in the landscape -- 2. Historical records and collection -- 3. Field studies: bringing historical records down to earth -- 4. The sedimentary record -- Part II. The diversity of human interactions with the natural world -- 5. Fire: mimicking nature -- 6. Extending species' ranges -- 7. Harvesting natural resources -- 8. Agriculture and its residual effects -- 9. Patterns of human settlement and industrialization -- Part III Contributions of historical ecology to understanding ecological issues -- 10. Diversity and species extinctions -- 11. Biospheric sustainability in a changing world. -- Conclusion. Toward the future: research and applications
All ecosystems have a history of past human impacts, some obvious, others subtle, Emily Russell contends in this fascinating exploration of historical ecology. To understand the lingering consequences of human history on current ecosystems and landscapes, and conversely to understand the role that changing environments have played in human history, the author urges an interdisciplinary approach. Different disciplines working together can develop information that none alone can provide. History matters for all manner of ecological and environmental studies, both theoretical and applied, says Russell, and integration of these disciplines can assist us in dealing responsibly with our role in the biosphere.
People and the Land through Time begins with a discussion of three major sources of evidence that elucidate the history of an ecosystem: historical documents, field studies, and sedimentary records. The author then considers ways that people have affected the environment over time, using for examples a wide variety of habitats from all over the world. Some instances of human impact on the environment—such as using fire and altering species ranges are difficult to distinguish from nonhuman impacts. Others—such as agriculture and patterns of land ownership—are distinctly human. The book’s final section shows how a historical ecological approach deepens understanding of current environmental issues, including changes to lakes, loss of biodiversity, and sustainability of the biosphere.