Anthroecology »

November 11, 2015 – 9:45 am

Why did behaviorally modern humans and no other multicellular species in the history of the Earth gain the capacity to transform an entire planet? Biology alone cannot explain this – Homo sapiens is just another …

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Articles tagged with: fire

The war with nature is over and we’ve won!

June 2, 2010 – 3:28 pm

What happens when humans finally win the war with nature and end up in charge of ecology? A question for the future? Think again. In “Peak Wood: Nature Does Impose Limits”, John Perlin describes what …

Burning the biosphere before you were born

August 21, 2009 – 10:37 pm
ruddiman_Boserup_factor

Millennia before humans discovered coal, indeed, millennia before there was civilization, Homo sapiens had discovered fire and was making extensive use of it. In a study just published by Bill Ruddiman and myself (Ruddiman and …

Guns, forests and carbon

July 15, 2009 – 10:43 pm
Israeli_Forest_Fire_(2006)

Not only do humans burn away forests to enhance their food supply, they also do it when they battle each other! Or so says a study published by Zhen Li and his colleagues this week …

The human jungle

January 30, 2009 – 8:56 am
nyt_rainforest_2009_01_30

Are pristine rainforests the only ones that matter? We know that forests do change as they age, developing some unique characteristics when mature, and that some species cannot live outside of large swaths of ancient …

Campfires degrade local ecosystems

January 14, 2009 – 12:06 pm
Lagerfeuer

Humans have been using fire since prehistory- indeed, it is one of our defining characteristics -distinguishing us from all other species.
There is little doubt that burning of forests to attract game and later, to clear …

Guns, Germs and Carbon: post-Colombian pandemics drive global cooling

January 14, 2009 – 9:22 am
120px-SwiddenFire6

Diseases introduced by Europeans after 1492 are now known to have caused massive population declines in the Americas, and the failure of ancient agricultural systems across huge regions, many of which depended on the regular …