Remember the matrix! (no habitat is an island)

Conservation of biodiversity requires the conservation of habitat, and for a long time, this has meant preserving the largest possible “pristine” habitats and excluding humans. Now that humans have fragmented most of earth’s landscapes into mosaics that combine croplands, settlements, and remaining wilder and recovering habitats, the task of conserving or restoring large, unbroken wildlands is daunting, and often impossible. […]

Campfires degrade local ecosystems

Humans have been using fire since prehistory- indeed, it is one of our defining characteristics -distinguishing us from all other species. There is little doubt that burning of forests to attract game and later, to clear land for agriculture have had long-term global impacts on climate and the biosphere. There is also much evidence of serious ecological consequences to the […]

Forest change in China

An interesting new historical study of forest cover change in China from 1700 to present reveals that up to the 1960s, deforestation prevailed, while since the 1960s, forests have been recovering. Read the paper by Fanneng He et al., in the (Chinese) Journal of Geographical Sciences, here (may require permission): http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11442-008-0059-8 Reference: He, F., Q. Ge, J. Dai, and Y. […]

Dynamics of village change in China’s Yangtze Delta (new publication)

┬áChina’s Yangtze Delta (also known as the Tai Lake Region) is home to some of the world’s most ancient anthropogenic landscapes. Rice was likely domesticated here 8,500 years ago, and the region’s nickname “land of fish and rice” sums up it’s long history of highly productive agriculture. Indeed, the region has long been a poster child for sustainable traditional agriculture […]