People have shaped most of terrestrial nature for at least 12,000 years

Publicado en Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Autores

Erle C. Ellis, Nicolas Gauthierb, Kees Klein Goldewijk, Rebecca Bliege Bird, Nicole Boivin,  Sandra Díaz, Dorian Q. Fuller, Jacquelyn L. Gill, Jed O. Kaplan, Naomi Kingston, Harvey Locke,  Crystal N. H. McMichael, Darren Ranco, Torben C. Rick, M. Rebecca Shaw, Lucas Stephens,  Jens-Christian Svenning, James E. M. Watsonr

 

Año de publicación 2021
DOI https://doi.org/10.1073/pnas.2023483118
Afiliaciones

Department of Geography and Environmental Systems, University of Maryland Baltimore County, Baltimore, MD 21250
School of Geography, Development and Environment, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721
Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research, University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ 85721
PBL The Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency, 2594 AV The Hague, The Netherlands
Copernicus Institute of Sustainable Development, Utrecht University, 3584 CB, Utrecht, The Netherlands
Department of Anthropology, The Pennsylvania State University, State College, PA 16801
Department of Archaeology, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Jena, Germany 07745
School of Social Science, The University of Queensland, St Lucia, Australia QLD 4072
Instituto Multidisciplinario de Biología Vegetal, Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas (CONICET) and Facultad de Ciencias Exactas, Físicas y Naturales, Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, Córdoba, Argentina 5000
Institute of Archaeology, University College London, London, WC1H 0PY United Kingdom
School of Cultural Heritage, Northwest University, Xi&rsquoan, Shaanxi, China 710069
School of Biology and Ecology and Climate Change Institute, University of Maine, Orono, ME 04469
Department of Earth Sciences, The University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China
United Nations Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre, Cambridge, CB3 0DL United Kingdom
Yellowstone to Yukon Conservation Initiative, Banff, AB, Canada T2L 1G1
Institute for Biodiversity and Ecosystem Dynamics, University of Amsterdam, 1090 GE Amsterdam, The Netherlands
Department of Anthropology, University of Maine, Orono, ME 04469
Department of Anthropology, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC 20560
The World Wide Fund for Nature, San Francisco, CA 94105
Nicholas Institute for Environmental Policy Solutions, Duke University, Durham, NC 27708
Center for Biodiversity Dynamics in a Changing World (BIOCHANGE), Department of Biology, Aarhus University, DK-8000 Aarhus C, Denmark
School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia 4072
Wildlife Conservation Society, Bronx, NY 10460

Programa

SGP-HW

Proyecto SGP-HW090
Keywords

Abstract

Archaeological and paleoecological evidence shows that by 10,000 BCE, all human societies employed varying degrees of ecologically transformative land use practices, including burning, hunting, species propagation, domestication, cultivation, and others that have left long-term legacies across the terrestrial biosphere. Yet, a lingering paradigm among natural scientists, conservationists, and policymakers is that human transformation of terrestrial nature is mostly recent and inherently destructive. Here, we use the most up-to-date, spatially explicit global reconstruction of historical human populations and land use to show that this paradigm is likely wrong. Even 12,000 y ago, nearly three quarters of Earth&rsquos land was inhabited and therefore shaped by human societies, including more than 95% of temperate and 90% of tropical woodlands. Lands now characterized as &ldquonatural,&rdquo &ldquointact,&rdquo and &ldquowild&rdquo generally exhibit long histories of use, as do protected areas and Indigenous lands, and current global patterns of vertebrate species richness and key biodiversity areas are more strongly associated with past patterns of land use than with present ones in regional landscapes now characterized as natural. The current biodiversity crisis can seldom be explained by the loss of uninhabited wildlands, resulting instead from the appropriation, colonization, and intensifying use of the biodiverse cultural landscapes long shaped and sustained by prior societies. Recognizing this deep cultural connection with biodiversity will therefore be essential to resolve the crisis.