Land Use History

Land use history—the story of human use of Earth's surface and its resources—reflects the record of anthropogenic manipulation of the natural environment. In preagricultural times, this impact was largely confined to fires. The first major land use changes took place with the transition from hunting and gathering communities to agricultural societies. Further changes can be associated with the adoption of new farming techniques and crops as well as with social and historical developments. Starting with the Industrial Revolution in the 19th century, however, land use has become one of the dominating forcing factors of environmental change, gradually affecting natural ecosystems on a global scale. Land use interferes with the climate system as well as with biogeochemical and hydrological cycles and has become a major topic ...

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