• Summary
  • Contents
  • Subject index

The SAGE Handbook of Environmental Change is an extensive survey of the interdisciplinary science of environmental change that examines the historic importance and future development of the field over two volumes. With over 40 chapters, the books situate key arguments and debates by examining a retrospective audit of the discipline, its changing nature and diversity of approaches, key theoretical paradigms, its resonances between sub-fields and other disciplines, and its relationships to theory, research and practice. Global in its coverage, scientific and theoretical in its approach, the books bring together an international set of respected editors and contributors to provide an exciting, timely addition to the literature on climate change.

Human Impacts on Terrestrial Biota and Ecosystems
Human impacts on terrestrial biota and ecosystems
1 Introduction

When human beings evolved, the challenge was survival in a world dominated by systems we could barely influence but that determined how we lived and died. Today the challenges we face are the result of systems that we have created (Sterman, 2002).

In the 3.7-billion-year history of life on Earth only one species, Homo sapiens, has been able to singlehandedly change ecosystem structure, function and condition at a global scale. From humble beginnings in Africa, modern humans have spread to occupy most terrestrial regions of the Earth and, enabled by agriculture, have developed the capacity to move beyond subsistence living to extracting personal wealth from ecosystem services and natural resources. Many human ...

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