Chapter

Holocene deforestation: a history of human–environmental interactions, climate change, and extinction

Rob Marchant, Simon Brewer, Thompson Webb III and Samuel T. Turvey

in Holocene Extinctions

Published in print May 2009 | ISBN: 9780199535095
Published online September 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780191715754 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199535095.003.0011
 Holocene deforestation: a history of human–environmental interactions, climate change, and extinction

Show Summary Details

Preview

Understanding past human-environmental interactions is central for assessing present-day human impacts on forest ecosystems. Deforestation has shaped terrestrial ecosystems extensively throughout the Holocene, in both temperate and tropical regions. This chapter describes some of the extent of past human impacts on forest ecosystems in Europe, the Americas, Africa, and the Pacific region, and outlines approaches used to reconstruct human impacts and the spatio-temporal signature of these impacts on forests through a series of case studies. However, prehistoric plant extinctions since the Middle Pleistocene remain largely undocumented, and little information is available to assess either Late Quaternary tree species extinctions before the historical period, or the impacts of earlier Holocene deforestation on animal populations. Direct effects of past deforestation in terms of habitat loss are likely to be compounded with other anthropogenic threat processes.

Keywords: agricultural expansion; human migration; landscape transformation; palaeoenvironmental data; tree extinction; Vera hypothesis

Chapter.  12411 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Evolutionary Biology

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.