Defining the epoch we live in

  title={Defining the epoch we live in},
  author={William F. Ruddiman and Erle C. Ellis and Jed O. Kaplan and Dorian Q. Fuller},
  pages={38 - 39}
Is a formally designated “Anthropocene” a good idea? Human alterations of Earth's environments are pervasive. Visible changes include the built environment, conversion of forests and grasslands to agriculture, algal blooms, smog, and the siltation of dams and estuaries. Less obvious transformations include increases in ozone, carbon dioxide (CO2), and methane (CH4) in the atmosphere, and ocean acidification. Motivated by the pervasiveness of these alterations, Crutzen and Stoermer argued in… 
Finding the anthropocene in tropical forests
Geo-ecology in the Anthropocene
Human activities have left signatures on the Earth for millennials, and these impacts are growing in the last decades. As a consequence, recent global change suggests that Earth may have entered a
What Future for the Anthropocene? A Biophysical Interpretation
The Anthropocene is a proposed time subdivision of the earth’s history correlated with the strong perturbation of the ecosystem created by human activity. Much debate is ongoing about what date
Concluding Remarks: The Organic Anthropocene
This article argues that the early modern period plays a pivotal role in global ecological history. It makes the case for a long “Organic Anthropocene” emerging from the Neolithic and gathering
Introduction to the Special Issue ‘The Anthropocene in the Longue Durée’
In the past few decades, there has been growing public awareness of human-caused global warming, rapidly decreasing biodiversity, massive soil erosion and ocean acidification. Human impacts on the
Three flaws in defining a formal ‘Anthropocene’
  • W. Ruddiman
  • Environmental Science
    Progress in Physical Geography: Earth and Environment
  • 2018
The Anthropocene Working Group (AWG) of the Subcommission of Quaternary Stratigraphy of the International Commission on Stratigraphy is moving toward recommending that the start of a formally
Anthropocene: Earth System, geological, philosophical and political paradigm shifts
The concept of the Anthropocene has created a profound paradigm shift within the scientific community that may well create equally important changes in philosophy and politics. There is general
Tropical forests as key sites of the “Anthropocene”: Past and present perspectives
This Special Feature draws on multidisciplinary contributions from archaeology, history, paleoecology, climate science, and Indigenous traditional knowledge to explore the authors' species’ interaction with tropical forests across space and through time.
Archaeological assessment reveals Earth’s early transformation through land use
An empirical global assessment of land use from 10,000 years before the present (yr B.P.) to 1850 CE reveals a planet largely transformed by hunter-gatherers, farmers, and pastoralists by 3000 years ago, considerably earlier than the dates in the land-use reconstructions commonly used by Earth scientists.


The Anthropocene: Are Humans Now Overwhelming the Great Forces of Nature
This work uses atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration as a single, simple indicator to track the progression of the Anthropocene, the current epoch in which humans and the authors' societies have become a global geophysical force.
Holocene carbon emissions as a result of anthropogenic land cover change
Humans have altered the Earth’s land surface since the Paleolithic mainly by clearing woody vegetation first to improve hunting and gathering opportunities, and later to provide agricultural
The Anthropogenic Greenhouse Era Began Thousands of Years Ago
The anthropogenic era is generally thought to have begun 150 to 200 years ago, when the industrial revolution began producing CO2 andCH4 at rates sufficient to alter their compositions in the
Anthropogenic transformation of the terrestrial biosphere
  • Erle C. Ellis
  • Environmental Science
    Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences
  • 2011
The current global extent, duration, type and intensity of human transformation of ecosystems have already irreversibly altered the terrestrial biosphere at levels sufficient to leave an unambiguous geological record differing substantially from that of the Holocene or any prior epoch.
Archaeology of the Anthropocene in the Yellow River region, China, 8000–2000 cal. BP
Although archaeological analysis emphasizes the importance of climatic events as a driver of historical processes, we use a variety of environmental and archaeological data to show that human
Current perspectives and the future of domestication studies
It is argued that although recent progress has been impressive, the next decade will yield even more substantial insights not only into how domestication took place, but also when and where it did, and where and why it did not.
Short Communication: Humans and the missing C-sink: erosion and burial of soil carbon through time
Abstract. Is anthropogenic soil erosion a sink or source of atmospheric carbon? The answer depends on factors beyond hillslope erosion alone because the probable fate of mobilized soil carbon evolves
The contribution of rice agriculture and livestock pastoralism to prehistoric methane levels
We review the origins and dispersal of rice in Asia based on a data base of 443 archaeobotanical reports. Evidence is considered in terms of quality, and especially whether there are data indicating
Assessing the Causes of Late Pleistocene Extinctions on the Continents
Evidence now supports the idea that humans contributed to extinction on some continents, but human hunting was not solely responsible for the pattern of extinction everywhere, and suggests that the intersection of human impacts with pronounced climatic change drove the precise timing and geography of extinction in the Northern Hemisphere.