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Evolving the Anthropocene: linking multi-level selection with long-term social–ecological change

To what degree is cultural multi-level selection responsible for the rise of environmentally transformative human behaviors? And vice versa? From the clearing of vegetation using fire to the emergence of agriculture and beyond, human societies have increasingly sustained themselves through practices that enhance environmental productivity through ecosystem engineering. At the...

Cross-Site Comparison of Land-Use Decision-Making and Its Consequences across Land Systems with a Generalized Agent-Based Model

Local changes in land use result from the decisions and actions of land-users within land systems, which are structured by local and global environmental, economic, political, and cultural contexts. Such cross-scale causation presents a major challenge for developing a general understanding of how local decision-making shapes land-use changes at the global scale. This paper...

Exploring Agricultural Livelihood Transitions with an Agent-Based Virtual Laboratory: Global Forces to Local Decision-Making

Rural populations are undergoing rapid changes in both their livelihoods and land uses, with associated impacts on ecosystems, global biogeochemistry, and climate change. A primary challenge is, thus, to explain these shifts in terms of the actors and processes operating within a variety of land systems in order to understand how land users might respond locally to future changes...

Dating the Anthropocene: Towards an empirical global history of human transformation of the terrestrial biosphere

Human use of land is a major cause of the global environmental changes that define the Anthropocene. Archaeological and paleoecological evidence confirm that human populations and their use of land transformed ecosystems at sites around the world by the late Pleistocene and historical models indicate this transformation may have reached globally significant levels more than 3000...

Anthropogenic transformation of the terrestrial biosphere

Erle C. Ellis Articles on similar topics can be found in the following collections Receive free email alerts when new articles cite this article - sign up in the box at the top right-hand corner of

Does the Shoe Fit? Real versus Imagined Ecological Footprints

The global overshoot indicated by Ecological Footprint calculations consists entirely of an unreliable reframing of human carbon emissions and none of the five other land-use categories—cropland, grazing land, built-up land, fishing grounds, and forests. The Ecological Footprint is therefore “so misleading as to preclude its use in any serious science or policy context,” argue...

The Ecological Footprint Remains a Misleading Metric of Global Sustainability

In this Formal Comment, Blomqvist et al. note that the main points of their Perspective, “Does the Shoe Fit? Real versus Imagined Ecological Footprints,” are robust to Rees and Wackernagel's response, “The Shoe Fits, but the Footprint is Larger than Earth.”

Synthesis in land change science: methodological patterns, challenges, and guidelines

Global and regional economic and environmental changes are increasingly influencing local land-use, livelihoods, and ecosystems. At the same time, cumulative local land changes are driving global and regional changes in biodiversity and the environment. To understand the causes and consequences of these changes, land change science (LCS) draws on a wide array synthetic and meta...

All Is Not Loss: Plant Biodiversity in the Anthropocene

Anthropogenic global changes in biodiversity are generally portrayed in terms of massive native species losses or invasions caused by recent human disturbance. Yet these biodiversity changes and others caused directly by human populations and their use of land tend to co-occur as long-term biodiversity change processes in the Anthropocene. Here we explore contemporary...

Meta-studies in land use science: Current coverage and prospects

´, 28805 Alcala´ de Henares, Spain. e-mail: Erle C. Ellis is an Associate Professor at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. His research interests include landscape ecology, global change and