Land Use and Ecological Change: A 12,000-Year History

@article{Ellis2021LandUA,
  title={Land Use and Ecological Change: A 12,000-Year History},
  author={Erle C Ellis},
  journal={Annual Review of Environment and Resources},
  year={2021}
}
  • E. Ellis
  • Published 18 October 2021
  • Environmental Science
  • Annual Review of Environment and Resources
Human use of land has been transforming Earth's ecology for millennia. From hunting and foraging to burning the land to farming to industrial agriculture, increasingly intensive human use of land has reshaped global patterns of biodiversity, ecosystems, landscapes, and climate. This review examines recent evidence from archaeology, paleoecology, environmental history, and model-based reconstructions that reveal a planet largely transformed by land use over more than 10,000 years. Although land… 

Figures from this paper

Optimization of Spatial Pattern of Land Use: Progress, Frontiers, and Prospects
Due to high-intensity human disturbance and rapid climate change, optimizing the spatial pattern of land use has become a pivotal path to restoring ecosystem functions and realizing the sustainable
Getting ahead of climate change for ecological adaptation and resilience
Description Changing the course of Earth’s climate is increasingly urgent, but there is also a concurrent need for proactive stewardship of the adaptive capacity of the rapidly changing biosphere.
Land Use Transition and Eco-Environmental Effects in Karst Mountain Area Based on Production-Living-Ecological Space: A Case Study of Longlin Multinational Autonomous County, Southwest China
The linkage mechanisms and optimization strategies between land use transition and eco-environmental effects that occur in the production-living-ecological space of karst mountain areas remain
Spatiotemporal Patterns in and Key Influences on Cultivated-Land Multi-Functionality in Northeast China’s Black-Soil Region
Cultivated-land multi-functionality has become an important way to achieve sustainable cultivated-land protection, and it has become a hot spot in the field of land-management policy. Taking the
Localized Native American impacts on past forest composition across a regional extent in north‐eastern United States
Researchers have debated impacts of past Native American land use on forests including upon tree species composition in north‐eastern United States (US), with estimates of impacts ranging from local
Fifty years of Landsat science and impacts

References

SHOWING 1-10 OF 198 REFERENCES
People have shaped most of terrestrial nature for at least 12,000 years
TLDR
The most up-to-date, spatially explicit global reconstruction of historical human populations and land use is used to show that the current biodiversity crisis can seldom be explained by the loss of uninhabited wildlands, resulting instead from the appropriation, colonization, and intensifiers of the biodiverse cultural landscapes long shaped and sustained by prior societies.
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
Sixteen years of change in the global terrestrial human footprint and implications for biodiversity conservation
TLDR
This work uses recently available data on infrastructure, land cover and human access into natural areas to construct a globally standardized measure of the cumulative human footprint on the terrestrial environment at 1 km2 resolution from 1993 to 2009.
Landscapes that work for biodiversity and people
TLDR
Biodiversity-based techniques can be used to manage most human-modified lands as “working landscapes” and ensure that the production of food, fiber, fuel, and timber can be sustained over the long run and be more resilient to extreme events.
The deep human prehistory of global tropical forests and its relevance for modern conservation
TLDR
Significant archaeological evidence for the impacts of past hunter-gatherers, agriculturalists and urban settlements on global tropical forests is reviewed and the challenges faced by these groups are compared with those confronting present-day societies, which also rely on tropical forests for a variety of ecosystem services.
Sharing the land between nature and people
TLDR
From parcels to planet, the management of Earth's limited land is in the hands of nearly 8 billion people with different needs, wants, abilities, perspectives, and social relations.
Fire and biodiversity in the Anthropocene
TLDR
How changes in fire activity are threatening species with extinction across the globe are reviewed, forward-looking methods for predicting the combined effects of human drivers and fire on biodiversity are highlighted, and emerging actions and strategies that could revolutionize how society manages fire for biodiversity in the Anthropocene are foreshadowed.
Anthropogenic transformation of the terrestrial biosphere
  • Erle C. Ellis
  • Environmental Science
    Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences
  • 2011
TLDR
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.
Putting people in the map: anthropogenic biomes of the world
Humans have fundamentally altered global patterns of biodiversity and ecosystem processes. Surprisingly, existing systems for representing these global patterns, including biome classifications,
Archaeological assessment reveals Earth’s early transformation through land use
TLDR
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.
...
...