This unique addition to reference literature provides an introduction to the major concepts and contemporary issues that are essential for students of environmental science and environmental studies to know. With over 200 entries authored by world-class names like Anthony Brazel, John Day and Edward Keller, this text is divided into six sections: Environmental Science, Environments, Paradigms & Concepts, Processes & Dynamics, Scales & Techniques, and Environmental Issues.
Once the study of past ecologies for its own sake, the reconstruction of ecological change during the Pleistocene and Holocene has become an important part of understanding the background to climate change and environmental degradation, especially where it is important to disentangle natural change from that brought about by human action. Palaeoecology may thus provide direct evidence of past biotic communities (e.g., peats which indicate now vanished freshwater mires or saline muddy sediments) that relate to former salt marshes. Equally important, the collections of data about sediments and biota may act as a proxy for other important ecological factors. The presence or absence of warmth-demanding tree species, for instance, may yield an understanding of climatic change and if plotted over a large region, the rate ...