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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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The ecological systems that suppport all life, including ours

Global Change

Humans are changing the earth, causing global warming, biodiversity loss and pollution


Anthropogenic Biomes (anthromes) are the global ecosystems created by humans


Understanding the processes that sustain human populations and their ecosystems


Tools and techniques for landscape and global ecology

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Articles by Erle Ellis

Naturalism in the Anthropocene

August 25, 2011 - 7:58 pm

What happens when a talented science writer brings together a diverse group of ecologists and conservationists chasing a new vision of nature? If that writer is Emma Marris, the answer is: Rambunctious Garden- a new …

Rocking the Anthropocene

June 4, 2011 - 12:59 am

If media attention is any measure of popular thinking- then we have indeed finally arrived in the Anthropocene. Thanks to the leadership (and hard work) of Jan Zalasiewicz, who initiated and convened the Anthropocene Working …

Anthropocene is forever

March 26, 2011 - 4:20 pm

“Global warming is essentially forever.” states David Archer in a nice blog post at fast company about the long-term effects of our current carbon emissions to the atmosphere. Yet more evidence that the Anthropocene is …

Malthus is still wrong: energetic limits to human systems

January 27, 2011 - 4:48 pm

“Large amounts of energy will be required to fuel economic growth, increase standards of living, and lift developing nations out of poverty.” (Brown et al., 2011; see Figure at left).
A key message from Brown et …

Saved! by Ester Boserup

January 11, 2011 - 3:52 pm

Human populations grow until they overshoot their carrying capacity and collapse. Game over. Thank you Malthus! (1798; and Ehrlich 1968).
Not so fast! There’s something wrong with this story: it almost never happens. Human populations do …

Brave new biosphere

November 9, 2010 - 1:31 pm

What kind of biosphere do you want? Great question! And great to see it connected with beautiful prize-winning graphics at visualizing.org. But on thinking further, it seems clearer than ever that the inspiration behind this- …

Think like a farmer

August 31, 2010 - 9:02 am

by Nick Magliocca

“Farming is hard work, so why do more of it?” That is what many early farmers were probably thinking when deciding between fuller bellies or keeping their long off-seasons of leisure time- at …

Botkin’s biosphere: ahead of its time

August 19, 2010 - 12:57 am

“We cannot expect nature to remain in a constant condition and thus provide us with a simple solution to the questions of what is “natural” and what is desirable.” (Botkin 1990, p 181) . Just …

The Biosphere we created: 1700 to 2000

August 5, 2010 - 10:41 am

“So how did the biosphere become anthropogenic anyway?” asked an astute audience member at my 2007 AGU presentation (powerpoint). I had just given a presentation on my work with Navin Ramankutty demonstrating that human populations …

An early history of rice

July 26, 2010 - 11:35 am

When did rice change the planet? Rice is the most important food crop on earth, feeding more than half of all humans. Most is produced in Asia in the flooded paddy systems that form the …