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People and the Land through Time

Linking Ecology and History

Emily W. B. (Russell) Southgate


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A revised and updated edition of a classic book that defines the field of historical ecology

People and the Land through Time, first published in 1997, remains the only introduction to the field of historical ecology from the perspective of ecology and ecosystem processes. Widely praised for its emphasis on the integration of historical information into scientific analyses, it will be useful to an interdisciplinary audience of students and professionals in ecology, conservation, history, archaeology, geography, and anthropology.
This up-to-date second edition addresses current issues in historical ecology such as the proposed geological epoch, the Anthropocene; historical species dispersal and extinction; the impacts of past climatic fluctuations; and trends in sustainability and conservation.

Praise For People and the Land through Time: Linking Ecology and History

“It is truly inspiring to follow Emily Southgate's thoughts on people and the environment over time. This is a classic of historical ecology and at the same time a very personal and inspiring book.”—Matthias Bürgi, Swiss Federal Research Institute WSL

"This edition presents two decades of progress in historical ecology, in which Southgate remains a crucial leader. She cogently shows the value of historical ecology for understanding the present, and shaping a sustainable future."—Steward Pickett, Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies

“Revising what has been the foremost text in historical ecology for over twenty years may seem a risk. But readers can rejoice: a classic has been expertly updated and improved.”—David Mladenoff, University of Wisconsin-Madison

“After reading this book it will be impossible to take a walk in nature—pristine or otherwise—without wondering how past human activities may have shaped the ecosystem in ways profound or subtle.”—Mark Vellend, author of The Theory of Ecological Communities

“Emily Southgate provides an effective and insightful message on the nature of human-environment interaction through time. This is a valuable and important contribution to the emerging field of historical ecology.”—Christopher L. Hill, co-author of Geoarchaeology: The Earth Science Approach to Archaeological Interpretation

Yale University Press, 9780300225808, 336pp.

Publication Date: September 3, 2019

About the Author

Emily W. B. (Russell) Southgate is a senior scholar at Hood College’s Biology Department. She is the co‑editor of Protecting the New JerseyPinelands.