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The Idea of Evolution in Geographical Thought
The idea of evolution in geographical thought

The idea of evolution has played a formative role in geography as an intellectual project since the mid-nineteenth century, as it has in disciplines across a full spectrum from the humanities to the natural sciences (Ruse and Travis 2009). In geography, the concept has been especially important in relation the evolution of landscapes through both natural and human agencies. The former would encompass long-term (i.e. Phanerozoic) landform evolution, including W.M. Davis’ cycle of erosion theory, while the latter includes the evolution of cultural landscapes over Holocene to historic timescales. Evolution has provided one of the principal frameworks for incorporating time into geographical change.

But what do we mean by ‘evolution'? The concept itself ...

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