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  Tropical forests as key sites of the “Anthropocene”: Past and present perspectives

Roberts, P., Hamilton, R., & Piperno, D. R. (2021). Tropical forests as key sites of the “Anthropocene”: Past and present perspectives. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 118(40): e2109243118, pp. 1-7. doi:10.1073/pnas.210924311.

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free online access (Publisher version)
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article published under a PNAS licence
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 Creators:
Roberts, Patrick1, Author           
Hamilton, Rebecca1, Author           
Piperno, Dolores R., Author
Affiliations:
1isoTROPIC, Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History, Max Planck Society, ou_3383319              

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Free keywords: archaeology, palaeoecology, tropics, Anthropocene, forests
 Abstract: Tropical forests are on the front line of climate change and human sustainability challenges, being key environments in discussions of the “Anthropocene” and some of the most threatened land-based habitats on the face of the Earth. However, while it has been acknowledged that 21st-century anthropogenic alterations to tropical forests have the potential to set off major earth systems feedbacks on regional to global scales, there has been less discussion on how past human activities may have had similar impacts. Indeed, difficult working conditions, poor preservation, and environmental determinism have traditionally led to these habitats being framed as “blanks” on the map of human history. In this Special Feature, we draw on multidisciplinary contributions from archaeology, history, paleoecology, climate science, and Indigenous traditional knowledge to explore our species’ interaction with tropical forests across space and through time. The contributions highlight that human societies have not only occupied and utilized these habitats over the long-term, but that they, in many cases, have also actively impacted them. This has often had persistent ramifications for local flora and fauna composition and biology, levels of biodiversity, landscape structure, and regional climate both before and after the industrial era. These deep-time perspectives provide insights for the development of more effective and just management practices in the present and future: ones that take into account the long and shifting cultural histories of these critical environments.In the last 5 y, tropical forests have experienced wildfires sweeping across the Amazon Basin, Australia, and Southeast Asia (1, 2), outbreaks of Ebola and COVID-19 causing severe global public health challenges (3), and unprecedented loss of habitat through clearance (4). Unsurprisingly, these environments are increasingly seen, in media and academic circles alike, as being at the core of the Anthropocene (5), the epoch during which human activities have come to … ↵1To whom correspondence may be addressed. Email: roberts{at}shh.mpg.de.

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Language(s): eng - English
 Dates: 2021-09-272021-10-05
 Publication Status: Published in print
 Pages: 7
 Publishing info: -
 Table of Contents: The Deep-Time Roots of the Tropical Anthropocene
From “Wilderness” to Managed Landscapes
From the Past to the Future: Whose Anthropocene Is It, Anyway?
Pasts, Presents, Futures
 Rev. Type: Peer
 Identifiers: DOI: 10.1073/pnas.210924311
Other: shh3063
 Degree: -

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Project name : PANTROPOCENE
Grant ID : 850709
Funding program : Horizon 2020 (H2020)
Funding organization : European Commission (EC)

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Title: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
  Other : PNAS
  Other : Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA
  Abbreviation : Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U. S. A.
Source Genre: Journal
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Publ. Info: Washington, D.C. : National Academy of Sciences
Pages: - Volume / Issue: 118 (40) Sequence Number: e2109243118 Start / End Page: 1 - 7 Identifier: ISSN: 0027-8424
CoNE: https://pure.mpg.de/cone/journals/resource/954925427230