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Global Change, Land use »

Monday, April 29, 2013 | 0 Comments

Is the Anthropocene recent? Defined solely by the accelerating impacts of an industrial society that threatens the future of both humanity and the biosphere (Barnosky et al., 2012,  Rockstrom et al., 2009)? A closer look at the history of human use of land yields a very different story.  ... [More]

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Anthromes, Global Change, Land use, Sustainability »

Monday, July 26, 2010 | 0 Comments

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 core of the most intensively-managed of all ancient agricultural anthromes, the rice villages, where i... [More]

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Global Change, Sustainability »

Tuesday, October 6, 2009 | 3 Comments

Are humans pushing earth systems towards environmental catastrophe?  Or are we just worrying needlessly about the novel state of the earth that we have now created?  Or both? In a Nature Feature entitled “A safe operating space for humanity” a team of scientists affiliated wit... [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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Global Change, Land use »

Monday, June 29, 2009 | 1 Comments

For thousands of years, humans have been changing global climate, maybe even helping us avert the next ice age, all long before the Industrial Revolution.  Interested?  Then you should read Plows, Plagues, and Petroleum: How Humans Took Control of Climate by Paleoclimatologist Bill Ruddima... [More]

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Anthromes, Global Change, Land use »

Wednesday, January 14, 2009 | 1 Comments

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 burning of forests.  Now, researchers, led by Richard Nevle and ... [More]

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Anthromes, Global Change, Land use »

Thursday, December 25, 2008 | 0 Comments

The Early Anthropocene Hypothesis holds that human alteration of climate began with forest clearing and rice production more than 6 thousand years ago.  Here are my personal impressions of recent work supporting this hypothesis, from last week's annual meeting ... [More]