Project

Anthropogenic Biomes (Anthromes)

Goal: Exploring the global ecological patterns created by sustained direct human interactions with ecosystems.

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John E. Quinn
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There is a clear need to refocus the way we prioritize conservation actions at a global scale to incorporate human systems. Anthromes have been suggested as one tool for integrating anthropogenic effects on ecosystems, but spatially explicit comparisons of biodiversity patterns are limited at a global extent. To address this gap, we used global data sets of anthromes and terrestrial vertebrate richness. We ranked anthromes by richness to all and threatened species at a global scale, temperate and tropical extents, and within major geographic regions. We tested for correlations between overall richness and count of threatened species, between taxonomic groups (birds, mammals, amphibians), and between taxa and conservation actions. At the global scale, there is high variation in vertebrate species richness by anthrome with low species richness in wildlands and higher richness in villages, rangelands, and woodlands. Threatened species distribution follows a similar pattern with high numbers of threatened species in village and remote seminatural woodland anthromes. Analyses at temperate and tropical extents suggests unique opportunities in different regions, for example when considering the value of land sparing or sharing. There is clear heterogeneity across geographic regions. Richness in anthromes and hotspots are spatially aligned across all taxa but not for threatened taxa. Protection was negatively correlated with threatened bird richness. Human modified ecosystems provide opportunities for conservation and global and regional ranking of anthromes helps identify priorities that can complement biome and ecoregion-based prioritization. Currently, much of conservation research and prioritization is in wildlands or perceived natural landscapes, however this data shows a clear need to focus conservation efforts on seminatural, managed, and residential lands. These data would be helpful for global conservation organizations as an updated framework that can be used to prioritize global resource allocation while considering both ecological and social systems.
Erle C Ellis
added a research item
Human use of land has been transforming Earth's ecology for millennia. From hunting and foraging to burning the land to farming to industrial agriculture, increasingly intensive human use of land has reshaped global patterns of biodiversity, ecosystems, landscapes, and climate. This review examines recent evidence from archaeology, paleoecology, environmental history, and model-based reconstructions that reveal a planet largely transformed by land use over more than 10,000 years. Although land use has always sustained human societies, its ecological consequences are diverse and sometimes opposing, both degrading and enriching soils, shrinking wild habitats and shaping novel ones, causing extinctions of some species while propagating and domesticating others, and both emitting and absorbing the greenhouse gases that cause global climate change. By transforming Earth's ecology, land use has literally paved the way for the Anthropocene. Now, a better future depends on land use strategies that can effectively sustain people together with the rest of terrestrial nature on Earth's limited land.
Erle C Ellis
added a research item
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’s land was inhabited and therefore shaped by human societies, including more than 95% of temperate and 90% of tropical woodlands. Lands now characterized as “natural,” “intact,” and “wild” 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.
Erle C Ellis
added a research item
Leading up to the Convention on Biological Diversity Conference of the Parties 15, there is momentum around setting bold conservation targets. Yet, it remains unclear how much of Earth's land area remains without significant human influence and where this land is located. We compare four recent global maps of human influences across Earth's land, Anthromes, Global Human Modification, Human Footprint and Low Impact Areas, to answer these questions. Despite using various methodologies and data, these different spatial assessments independently estimate similar percentages of the Earth's terrestrial surface as having very low (20%–34%) and low (48%–56%) human influence. Three out of four spatial assessments agree on 46% of the non‐permanent ice‐ or snow‐covered land as having low human influence. However, much of the very low and low influence portions of the planet are comprised of cold (e.g., boreal forests, montane grasslands and tundra) or arid (e.g., deserts) landscapes. Only four biomes (boreal forests, deserts, temperate coniferous forests and tundra) have a majority of datasets agreeing that at least half of their area has very low human influence. More concerning, <1% of temperate grasslands, tropical coniferous forests and tropical dry forests have very low human influence across most datasets, and tropical grasslands, mangroves and montane grasslands also have <1% of land identified as very low influence across all datasets. These findings suggest that about half of Earth's terrestrial surface has relatively low human influence and offers opportunities for proactive conservation actions to retain the last intact ecosystems on the planet. However, though the relative abundance of ecosystem areas with low human influence varies widely by biome, conserving these last intact areas should be a high priority before they are completely lost.
Erle C Ellis
added a research item
Human societies and their use of land have transformed ecology across this planet for thousands of years. As a result, the global patterns of life on Earth, the biomes, can no longer be understood without considering how humans have altered them. Anthromes, or anthropogenic biomes, characterize the globally significant ecological patterns created by sustained direct human interactions with ecosystems, including agriculture, urbanization, and other land uses. Anthromes now cover more than three quarters of Earth's ice-free land surface, including dense settlements, villages, croplands, rangelands, and seminatural lands; wildlands untransformed by agriculture and settlements cover the remaining area.
Erle C Ellis
added a research item
Human societies have been reshaping the geomorphology of landscapes for thousands of years, producing anthropogenic geomorphic features ranging from earthworks and reservoirs to settlements, roads, canals, ditches and plough furrows that have distinct characteristics compared with landforms produced by natural processes. Physical geographers have long recognized the widespread importance of these features in altering landforms and geomorphic processes, including hydrologic flows and stores, to processes of soil erosion and deposition. In many of the same landscapes, archaeologists have also utilized anthropogenic geomorphic features to detect and analyse human societal activities, including symbolic formations, agricultural systems, settlement patterns and trade networks. This paper provides a general framework aimed at integrating geophysical and archaeological approaches to observing, identifying and interpreting the full range of anthropogenic geomorphic features based on their structure and functioning, both individually and as components of landscape-scale management strategies by different societies, or “sociocultural fingerprints”. We then couple this framework with new algorithms developed to detect anthropogenic geomorphic features using precisely detailed three-dimensional reconstructions of landscape surface structure derived from LiDAR and computer vision photogrammetry. Human societies are now transforming the geomorphology of landscapes at increasing rates and scales across the globe. To understand the causes and consequences of these transformations and contribute to building sustainable futures, the science of physical geography must advance towards empirical and theoretical frameworks that integrate the natural and sociocultural forces that are now the main shapers of Earth’s surface processes.
Erle C Ellis
added a research item
Humanity’s impact on the planet has been profound. From fire, intensive hunting, and agriculture, it has accelerated into rapid climate change, widespread pollution, plastic accumulation, species invasions, and the mass extinction of species—changes that have left a permanent mark in the geological record of the rocks. Yet the proposal for a new unit of geological time—the Anthropocene Epoch—has raised debate far beyond the scientific community. The Anthropocene has emerged as a powerful new narrative of the relationship between humans and nature. Anthropocene: A Very Short Introduction draws on the work of geologists, geographers, environmental scientists, archaeologists, and humanities scholars to explain the science and wider implications of the Anthropocene.
Erle C Ellis
added 2 research items
AimBiologists increasingly recognize the roles of humans in ecosystems. Subsequently, many have argued that biodiversity conservation must be extended to environments that humans have shaped directly. Yet popular biogeographical frameworks such as biomes do not incorporate human land use, limiting their relevance to future conservation planning. ‘Anthromes’ map global ecological patterns created by sustained direct human interactions with ecosystems. In this paper, we set to understand how current conservation efforts are distributed across anthromes.LocationGlobal.Methods We analysed the global distribution of IUCN protected areas and biodiversity hotspots by anthrome. We related this information to density of native plant species and density of previous ecological studies. Potential conservation opportunities in anthromes were then identified through global analysis and two case studies.ResultsProtected areas and biodiversity hotspots are not distributed equally across anthromes. Less populated anthromes contain a greater proportion of protected areas. The fewest hotspots are found within densely settled anthromes and wildlands, which occur at the two extremes of human population density. Opportunities for representative protection, prioritization, study and inclusion of native species were not congruent.Main conclusionsResearchers and practitioners can use the anthromes framework to analyse the distribution of conservation practices at the global and regional scale. Like biomes, anthromes could also be used to set future conservation priorities. Conservation goals in areas directly shaped by humans need not be less ambitious than those in ‘natural areas’.
The reality confronting ecosystem managers today is one of heterogeneous, rapidly transforming landscapes, particularly in the areas more affected by urban and agricultural development. A landscape management framework that incorporates all systems, across the spectrum of degrees of alteration, provides a fuller set of options for how and when to intervene, uses limited resources more effectively, and increases the chances of achieving management goals. That many ecosystems have departed so substantially from their historical trajectory that they defy conventional restoration is not in dispute. Acknowledging novel ecosystems need not constitute a threat to existing policy and management approaches. Rather, the development of an integrated approach to management interventions can provide options that are in tune with the current reality of rapid ecosystem change.
Erle C Ellis
added 3 research items
Humans have fundamentally altered global patterns of biodiversity and ecosystem processes. Surprisingly, existing systems for representing these global patterns, including biome classifications, either ignore humans altogether, or simplify human influence into at most 4 categories. Here we present the first characterization of the terrestrial biomes based on global patterns of sustained direct human interaction with ecosystems. Eighteen "anthropogenic biomes" were identified through empirical analysis of global population, land use and land cover. More than three quarters of Earth's ice-free land showed evidence of alteration by human residence and land use, with less than a quarter remaining as wildlands, supporting just 11% of terrestrial net primary production. Anthropogenic biomes offer a new way forward in developing models and investigations of the terrestrial biosphere that integrate human and ecological systems, going beyond the conventional view of these as a single dimension of human disturbance, impact or domination, and moving towards an operational view of humans as shapers of ecosystem structure and function. This is a critical framework for future efforts to model and mediate anthropogenic changes in the terrestrial biosphere, as most of "nature" may now be considered as being embedded within anthropogenic mosaics of land use and land cover. It is our hope that wide availability of an anthropogenic biome system will encourage a richer view of human/ecosystem interactions across the terrestrial biosphere and that this will in turn lead to improved models and investigations of ecosystem processes and their changes at global and regional scales.
Background/Question/Methods Humans have converted more than three quarters of the terrestrial biosphere into croplands, rangelands, villages and other agricultural biomes. In most regions, the transformation of forests, grasslands and other wild ecosystems into agricultural land has generated heterogeneous landscape mosaics in which croplands intermingle with a wide array of different land uses including settlements and forestry along with patches of disturbed, recovering, and remnant ecosystems. This mosaic structure has significant implications when assessing the climate impacts of agricultural land, which include altered carbon balance and greenhouse gas emissions together with changes in surface energy balance caused by altered surface albedo and fluxes of moisture and sensible heat. We used global data for population, land use, land cover, climate and terrain to characterize global patterns of agricultural landscape structure and its changes in relation to their potential influence on global climate. Results/Conclusions In contrast with historical trends, most agricultural regions have recently undergone small but significant contractions in cropped area caused by the abandonment of the least productive lands and by the expansion of housing into croplands, usually accompanied by intensified management of remaining croplands to increase their productivity. As a result, both housing density and tree cover are increasing in agricultural regions of North America, Europe and China, without notable declines in agricultural productivity. While trees and other woody vegetation usually increase both carbon sequestration and evaporative cooling relative to pre-existing croplands, their albedo is much lower, resulting in a strong net warming effect in most regions. Replacing crops with settlements also produces warming by eliminating evaporative cooling, even when accompanied by increases in surface albedo. Thus, the net climate impact of both cropland abandonment and settlement increase would appear to be surface warming, especially in the densely populated agricultural biomes, which incorporate built surface areas several times greater than all of the world’s urban areas combined. Yet these effects depend on climatic zone and can be balanced by global cooling caused by increased carbon sequestration in woody biomass and soils. And while intensified management of remaining croplands has likely increased fertilizer loading and nitrous oxide emissions, generating greenhouse warming, its effects on soil carbon balance and emissions of carbon dioxide and methane are less well understood. As a result, the net climate impacts of recent changes in agricultural landscape structure remain a challenge to measure. Given their potential impacts on global and regional climate, these certainly merit greater study.
Humans have fundamentally altered global patterns of biodiversity and ecosystem processes. Surprisingly, existing systems for representing these global patterns, including biome classifications, either ignore humans altogether or simplify human influence into, at most, four categories. Here, we present the first characterization of terrestrial biomes based on global patterns of sustained, direct human interaction with ecosystems. Eighteen "anthropogenic biomes" were identified through empirical analysis of global population, land use, and land cover. More than 75% of Earth's ice-free land showed evidence of alteration as a result of human residence and land use, with less than a quarter remaining as wildlands, supporting just 11% of terrestrial net primary production. Anthropogenic biomes offer a new way forward by acknowledging human influence on global ecosystems and moving us toward models and investigations of the terrestrial biosphere that integrate human and ecological systems.
Erle C Ellis
added 2 research items
Identification of means to accommodate demand for food, fiber, and fuel while protecting biodiversity is essential. Given the scales of change associated with agriculture, effective analysis of the impact of biomass production on species abundance requires science and practice to address multiple measures of agricultural change. We analyzed the response of avian species abundance to multiple measures of agricultural change over a 40-year period along the 41st parallel in the central United States, an area that is perhaps the most agriculturally expansive, intensive, and productive in the world. We prepared indexes of change for area farmed, chemicals used, and biomass produced. Competing singular and additive model combinations were evaluated using Akaike's information criterion model selection and used to estimate abundance of fifty-five species of birds. The negative response of among grassland birds to both agricultural expansion and intensification suggests successful conservation in highly productive agroecoregions must consider elements of both land-sparing and land-sharing approaches. The response of nongrassland obligates to intensification and expansion was mixed, and conservation efforts may need to combine local and regional data to design successful management strategies. Inclusion of multiple processes of agricultural change provides greater insight for researchers, practitioners, and policymakers. These data provide evidence that a more comprehensive analysis of the relationship between North American biodiversity and agricultural production is necessary to improve conservation decision-making and regional conservation prioritization. © 2016 The Authors. Ecology and Evolution published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.
Complexities in the rates and patterns of change necessitate the consideration of alternate futures in planning processes. These scenarios, and the inputs and assumptions used to build them, should reflect both ecological and social contexts. Considering the regional landscape as an anthrome, a priori, assumes human needs and institutions have a fundamental role and place in these futures, but that institutions incorporate ecological limits in decision making. As a case study of conservation scenario planning under the anthrome paradigm, we used a suite of InVEST models to develop and explore land use and land cover scenarios and to measure the associated change in biodiversity and ecosystem services in a region where dense settlements are expanding into populated and residential woodland anthromes. While tradeoffs between benefits in alternative futures are unavoidable, we found that distinct conservation opportunities arise within and around the protected areas and in the heterogeneous urban core of the county. Reflecting on the process and subsequent findings, we discuss why anthromes can be a more suitable framing for scenarios used in conservation decision making and land use planning. Specifically, we discuss how starting with anthromes influenced assumptions about inputs and opportunities and the decisions related to the planning for human and natural systems.
Erle C Ellis
added 3 research items
Background/Question/Methods Humans have transformed more than three quarters of the terrestrial biosphere into croplands, rangelands, villages, settlements and other anthropogenic biomes (anthromes) including managed and recovering woodlands. Most of the remainder is either arid, frigid, or otherwise undesirable for human use. While the process of anthropogenic ecosystem transformation and management has been sustained for thousands of years on every continent except Antarctica, there is still a tendency for ecological scientists, educators and policymakers to portray the terrestrial biosphere as a natural place just recently disturbed by humans. Portraying the terrestrial biosphere in this way may convince the public that action to "save the biosphere" is urgent. However, this portrayal is neither scientifically accurate nor a means toward sustainable management of the biosphere in the future. This presentation examines the current state of the terrestrial biosphere and the long-term trajectory by which most of it came to be managed or otherwise transformed by humans and applies these observations towards better understanding our management options for a sustainable biosphere. Results/Conclusions As of 2000, close to 90% of earth's terrestrial primary productivity and its most plant-species-rich regions were located within anthromes. Even in 1700, anthromes were already more extensive than "wild" biomes (lands without evidence of human occupation or land use). Yet most primary productivity and plant species richness were in seminatural woodlands- the anthromes least influenced by humans. Moreover, even in the most ancient and intensively managed cropland and village anthromes, substantial areas of seminatural woodlands and other less disturbed ecosystems are embedded within mosaics of harvested, cultivated, settled and other managed lands . These global and local patterns demonstrate that sustained coexistence between human populations and both managed and unmanaged ecosystems is not only possible, but that it has been the norm for most ecosystems globally for centuries. While rapid change in human systems may not be ecologically sustainable over the long-term- and recent rates of land use intensification are clearly unprecedented, there is little evidence that human interactions with ecosystems are in themselves unsustainable. On the contrary, virtually all of earth's terrestrial ecosystems have already been irreversibly altered by sustained interactions with humans and management interventions are now needed to sustain even the most wild-seeming natural places and species that remain. The biosphere can no longer be saved from us- all we can do is manage it better.
The terrestrial biosphere has now been almost completely transformed by human populations and their use of land. Here we map and characterize anthropogenic transformation of the terrestrial biosphere from 1700 to 2000 using a rule-based anthrome (anthropogenic biome) classification model applied to gridded global data for human population density and land use. Anthropogenic transformation of terrestrial biomes into anthromes was then characterized by map comparisons at century intervals. This analysis reveals that between 1700 and 2000, the terrestrial biosphere made the critical transition from mostly wild to mostly anthropogenic, passing the 50% mark early in the 20th century. In 1700, nearly half of the terrestrial biosphere was wild, without human settlements or substantial land use. Most of the remainder was in a Seminatural state (45%) having only minor use for agriculture and settlements. By 2000, the opposite was true, with the majority of the biosphere in agricultural and settled anthromes, less than 20% Seminatural and only a quarter left wild. Anthropogenic transformation of the biosphere during the Industrial Revolution resulted about equally from land use expansion into Wildlands and land use intensification within Seminatural anthromes. Transformation pathways differed strongly between biomes and regions, with some remaining mostly wild but with the majority almost completely transformed into Rangelands, Croplands and Villages. In the process of transforming almost 39% of Earth's total ice-free surface into agriculture and settlements, an additional 37% without such use have become embedded within agricultural and settled anthromes. At present and ever more in the future, terrestrial ecosystem form and process in most biomes will be predominantly anthropogenic, the product of land use and other direct human interactions with ecosystems. Earth science and ecological research and conservation efforts in all but a few biomes would benefit from a primary focus on the novel remnant, recovering and managed ecosystems embedded within used lands. Historical analysis of global transitions between wild and anthropogenic biomes provides a simple framework for assessing and modeling both past and future global biotic and ecological patterns based on the form, extent, duration, and intensity of their modification by humans.
Erle C Ellis
added 2 research items
Human populations and their use of land have now transformed most of the terrestrial biosphere into anthropogenic biomes (anthromes). As anthromes have emerged as the dominant global forms of ecological pattern and process, human interactions with terrestrial ecosystems have become a key earth system process, determining the structure and functioning of the biosphere. This presentation explores Ester Boserup’s land use intensification theories as models for understanding the emergence and dynamics of anthromes and their ecological processes, including their biogeochemistry and community structure, from the mostly wild biosphere of the Holocene to the primarily anthropogenic biosphere of the present and future. Existing global models and data for human population growth and land use over the Holocene differ in their portrayal of the global transition to a mostly anthropogenic biosphere. Yet there is little doubt that human populations have continued to grow over the long term and that anthromes have been increasingly important global ecological systems for millennia. This is conclusive evidence that human interactions with ecosystems can be sustained over the long-term, albeit under conditions that may no longer be realizable by either Earth or human systems. The classic Malthusian paradigm, in which human population growth outstrips natural resources leading to population collapse is unsupported by historical observations at global scale. Boserupian intensification is the better model, providing a robust theoretical foundation in which socio-ecological systems evolve as human populations increase, towards increasingly efficient use of limiting natural resources and enhanced production of anthropogenic ecological services such as food. This is not a story of technical advance, but rather of the forced adoption of ever more energy-intensive technical solutions in support of ever increasing population demands. And it does explain historical changes in the biosphere as well as more recent changes driven by the demographic and forest transitions, increases in irrigation and fertilizer inputs, and the massive urbanization now underway globally. Boserupian intensification should therefore replace Malthusian catastrophe as the dominant paradigm for understanding, modeling and managing human interactions with the biosphere in the Anthropocene. The future is inherently uncertain and differs always from the past. Nevertheless, sustainable stewardship of the biosphere will benefit from understanding and managing the socio-ecological dynamics of land use intensification and its global impacts on biodiversity and biogeochemistry of ecosystems.
Aim To map and characterize anthropogenic transformation of the terrestrial biosphere before and during the Industrial Revolution, from 1700 to 2000.Location Global.Methods Anthropogenic biomes (anthromes) were mapped for 1700, 1800, 1900 and 2000 using a rule-based anthrome classification model applied to gridded global data for human population density and land use. Anthropogenic transformation of terrestrial biomes was then characterized by map comparisons at century intervals.Results In 1700, nearly half of the terrestrial biosphere was wild, without human settlements or substantial land use. Most of the remainder was in a seminatural state (45%) having only minor use for agriculture and settlements. By 2000, the opposite was true, with the majority of the biosphere in agricultural and settled anthromes, less than 20% seminatural and only a quarter left wild. Anthropogenic transformation of the biosphere during the Industrial Revolution resulted about equally from land-use expansion into wildlands and intensification of land use within seminatural anthromes. Transformation pathways differed strongly between biomes and regions, with some remaining mostly wild but with the majority almost completely transformed into rangelands, croplands and villages. In the process of transforming almost 39% of earth's total ice-free surface into agricultural land and settlements, an additional 37% of global land without such use has become embedded within agricultural and settled anthromes.Main conclusions Between 1700 and 2000, the terrestrial biosphere made the critical transition from mostly wild to mostly anthropogenic, passing the 50% mark early in the 20th century. At present, and ever more in the future, the form and process of terrestrial ecosystems in most biomes will be predominantly anthropogenic, the product of land use and other direct human interactions with ecosystems. Ecological research and conservation efforts in all but a few biomes would benefit from a primary focus on the novel remnant, recovering and managed ecosystems embedded within used lands.
Erle C Ellis
added a research item
Human use of land has transformed the terrestrial biosphere, causing global changes in ecosystems, landscapes, biogeochemistry, climate, and biodiversity. This global transformation is commonly described as recent in human-environment history. Interdisciplinary paleo and historical data reconstructions and global land use and land cover modeling challenge this view, indicating that human use of land has been extensive and sustained for millennia, and may represent more of a recovery than an acceleration of land use in this century and beyond. Here we present a new global synthesis of recent scientific work on the emergence, history, and future of land use as a global force transforming the Earth system. Central to this synthesis is early human use of fire to engineer ecosystems and other systemic changes in land use dynamics, which together explain how relatively small human populations may have caused widespread and profound ecological changes early in the Holocene, while the largest human populations in history are associated with forests recovery across large regions. While quantitative global models of Holocene and even contemporary land use are still at early stage of development, improved land use histories and models that incorporate land change processes offer a more spatially detailed and accurate view of our planet's history, with a biosphere and perhaps even climate long ago affected by humans. The implicit view from the Anthropocene that humans have reached a historical moment in which "wild nature" is threatened is thus challenged by a view that humans are ancestral shapers and permanent stewards of Earth's terrestrial surface. Land use intensification processes have long sustained human interactions with the terrestrial biosphere, and they continue to evolve as populations grow and urbanize. While these processes are rapidly shifting from their historic patterns in both scale and type, integrative land use and land cover models that incorporate dynamics in human-environment relations help advance our understanding of both past and future land use changes and their global effects.
Erle C Ellis
added 2 research items
Anthropogenic global changes in biodiversity are generally portrayed in terms of massive native species losses or invasions caused by recent human disturbance. Yet these biodiversity changes and others caused directly by human populations and their use of land tend to co-occur as long-term biodiversity change processes in the Anthropocene. Here we explore contemporary anthropogenic global patterns in vascular plant species richness at regional landscape scales by combining spatially explicit models and estimates for native species loss together with gains in exotics caused by species invasions and the introduction of agricultural domesticates and ornamental exotic plants. The patterns thus derived confirm that while native losses are likely significant across at least half of Earth's ice-free land, model predictions indicate that plant species richness has increased overall in most regional landscapes, mostly because species invasions tend to exceed native losses. While global observing systems and models that integrate anthropogenic species loss, introduction and invasion at regional landscape scales remain at an early stage of development, integrating predictions from existing models within a single assessment confirms their vast global extent and significance while revealing novel patterns and their potential drivers. Effective global stewardship of plant biodiversity in the Anthropocene will require integrated frameworks for observing, modeling and forecasting the different forms of anthropogenic biodiversity change processes at regional landscape scales, towards conserving biodiversity within the novel plant communities created and sustained by human systems.
Erle C Ellis
added 5 research items
Even before the advent of agriculture, Homo sapiens kicked off an entirely new process of planetary change. Earth ould never be the same. Instead of mere centuries, Erle C Ellis advances a broader view of the Anthropocene, over any millennia, and what that means for land stewardship.
Erle C Ellis
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Erle C Ellis
added a project goal
Exploring the global ecological patterns created by sustained direct human interactions with ecosystems.