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Global Change, Land use, Sustainability »

Wednesday, June 2, 2010 | 0 Comments

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 happens when human societies, starting in prehistory, have completely ... [More]

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Global Change, Land use »

Friday, August 21, 2009 | 1 Comments

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 Ellis, 2009), we show that early farmers using fire likely cleared ... [More]

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Ecosystems, Global Change »

Wednesday, July 15, 2009 | 0 Comments

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 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (Li et al. 2009).  By linking a careful investig... [More]

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Ecosystems, Global Change, Land use, Sustainability »

Friday, January 30, 2009 | 0 Comments

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 tropical forests. But what about the rest of tropical forests- the... [More]

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Ecosystems, Land use »

Wednesday, January 14, 2009 | 3 Comments

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 land for agriculture have had long-term global impacts on climate and... [More]