What is a human habitat?

by Jonathan Dandois Here is an open question to the group and readers: Is there a typical human habitat, and if so, what does it look like? More than likely, there is a distribution of different habitat types that humans occupy at a global, regional, and even local levels, but perhaps there are some common patterns. I realize that the […]

Our landscapes are reflected in the clouds

When we change our landscapes, we change the clouds above and thereby climate – this from new evidence just published by Jingfeng Wang (Wang et al., 2009) and a team of researchers in Rafael Bras’s climate lab at MIT. By observing cloud patterns and other climate parameters in deforested areas of Brazil, their work demonstrates that local and regional patterns […]

You CAN get there from here

A new global “accessibility” map further demonstrates that humans now have easy access to almost all of Earth’s land. Using global data for roads and other transportation systems, researchers at the European Commission and the World Bank developed a map of access time, in minutes to cities. This has yielded many interesting statistics- for example, more than 90% of Earth’s […]

Guns, Germs and Carbon: post-Colombian pandemics drive global cooling

Diseases introduced by Europeans after 1492 are now known to have caused massive population declines in the Americas, and the failure of ancient agricultural systems across huge regions, many of which depended on the regular burning of forests. Now, researchers, led by Richard Nevle and Dennis Bird have investigated the climate consequences of this massive decline in agriculture and the […]

Pushing back the Anthropocene at the AGU

The Early Anthropocene Hypothesis holds that human alteration of climate began with forest clearing and rice production more than 6 thousand years ago. Here are my personal impressions of recent work supporting this hypothesis, from last week’s annual meeting of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) in San Francisco (a conference of 15,000- so big its like Woodstock for Earth scientists). […]

Anthromes on the cover of Frontiers in Ecology

At last! After nearly one year online, my paper with Navin Ramankutty introducing Anthropogenic Biomes (Anthromes), is now in print in the October issue of Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment. Even better, it is on the cover! The paper can be viewed online (with permission) at the Frontiers in Ecology web site: esajournals.org/doi/abs/10.1890/070062 And downloaded for free, here: ecotope.org/people/ellis/papers/ellis_2008.pdf […]

The Earth We Created – an interview

Here is an interview about my work with anthropogenic biomes and opinions about sustainable management of the environment: http://knowledge.allianz.com/search.cfm?156/the-environmental-impact-of-population-growth The reporter, Thilo Kunzemann, of Allianz Knowledge, did a great job by asking me some hard questions- they were fun to answer- but I hope my answers won’t seem overconfident in the next 50 years!