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Nature

  • By: Noel Castree
  • In: Encyclopedia of Geography
  • Edited by: Barney Warf
  • Subject:General Geography, Earth & Environmental Science

Geography is one of several academic subjects whose raison d’être is bound up with the topic of nature. Indeed, to explore the various ways in which geographers have approached this topic is, in effect, to examine the history and present constitution of geography as such. What is nature? Consult any dictionary and one quickly discovers that there is no straightforward answer. Nature refers to a wide range of things in a plurality of different ways. This is why it is an unusually complicated word; some say the most complex in the English language. The term has four principal meanings: first, the nonhuman world, especially those parts untouched or barely affected by humans; second, the entire physical world, including humans as biological entities and products of ...

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