Special Issue "Anthropogenic Biomes"

A special issue of Land (ISSN 2073-445X).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (15 December 2016)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Erle C. Ellis

Geography and Environmental Systems, University of Maryland, Baltimore County, 211 Sondheim Hall, 1000 Hilltop Circle, Baltimore, MD 21250, USA
Website | E-Mail
Phone: +31 61 195 6485
Interests: landscape ecology; global ecology; anthropogenic landscapes; anthromes; Anthropocene; landscape design; human-environment interactions; sustainable land management; multi-functional landscapes; village landscapes; China
Guest Editor
Dr. Kees Klein Goldewijk

Copernicus Institute for Sustainable Development, Faculty Geosciences, Utrecht University (UU), 3584 CS Utrecht, The Netherlands
Website | E-Mail
Phone: +31 61 195 6485
Interests: historical land use modeling/reconstructions
Guest Editor
Prof. Navin Ramankutty

Liu Institute for Global Issues and Institute for Resources, Environment, and Sustainability, University of British Columbia, 6476 NW Marine Drive, Vancouver, BC, V6T 1Z2, Canada
Website | E-Mail
Phone: +1 (604)-827-1745
Interests: global agriculture and food security; land use and cover change; global environmental change; global climate change; earth system science; ecosystem services; climate-vegetation interactions; global biogeochemical cycles
Guest Editor
Dr. Laura Martin

Ziff Environmental Fellow, Harvard University Center for the Environment and Department of the History of Science, Cambridge, MA 02138, USA
Website | E-Mail
Interests: the histories of ecological science and ecological management; the relationship between ecological knowledge and human impacts on environments; contemporary and historical practices of biodiversity conservation; bridging the methodologies and concerns of the humanities and the sciences

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The concept of anthropogenic biomes or “anthromes” was introduced in 2008 by Ellis and Ramankutty in their paper “Putting People in the Map: Anthropogenic Biomes of the World” [1]. By mapping the globally significant ecological patterns created by sustained direct interactions with humans, the work encouraged a rethinking of the biosphere to include humans, attracting more than 100 news and blog posts and more than 600 citations on its original publication and many more on related work [2]. Anthrome maps now appear in several recent textbooks and National Geographic Atlases. Most importantly, the concept of anthromes and their global mapping has helped inspire and underpin a wide variety of efforts to “put people in the map” of Earth’s ecology and landscapes, including efforts to define the Anthropocene as an epoch of geologic time.

The goal of this special issue is to both consolidate existing work on anthromes and to advance the utility of anthromes as a tool for understanding, mapping, assessing and guiding sustained human environment interactions in an increasingly anthropogenic biosphere.

Due Date for Submissions: October 15, 2016.
To coincide with the Global Land Project Open Science Meeting in Beijing, October, 24-27, 2016.

Note that submissions accepted before the deadline will be published online shortly after their acceptance.

Prof. Erle C. Ellis
Dr. Kees Klein Goldewijk
Prof. Navin Ramankutty
Dr. Laura Martin
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Land is an international peer-reviewed open access quarterly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 350 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

References

  1. Ellis, E.C.; Ramankutty, N. Putting people in the map: Anthropogenic biomes of the world. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 2008, 6, 439-447.
  2. Ellis, E.C.; Klein Goldewijk, K.; Siebert, S.; Lightman, D.; Ramankutty, N. Anthropogenic transformation of the biomes, 1700 to 2000. Global Ecology and Biogeography 2010, 19, 589-606.
  3. Mueller, T.; Dressler, G.; Tucker, C.; Pinzon, J.; Leimgruber, P.; Dubayah, R.; Hurtt, G.; Böhning-Gaese, K.; Fagan, W. Human land-use practices lead to global long-term increases in photosynthetic capacity. Remote Sensing 2014, 6, 5717.

Published Papers (7 papers)

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Research

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Open AccessArticle Application of Anthromes to Frame Scenario Planning for Landscape-Scale Conservation Decision Making
Land 2017, 6(2), 33; doi:10.3390/land6020033
Received: 1 April 2017 / Revised: 2 May 2017 / Accepted: 2 May 2017 / Published: 10 May 2017
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Abstract
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
[...] Read more.
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. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Anthropogenic Biomes)
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Open AccessArticle Rangelands: Where Anthromes Meet Their Limits
Land 2017, 6(2), 31; doi:10.3390/land6020031
Received: 18 January 2017 / Revised: 27 March 2017 / Accepted: 26 April 2017 / Published: 1 May 2017
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Abstract
Defining rangelands as anthromes enabled Ellis and Ramankutty (2008) to conclude that more than three-quarters of Earth’s land is anthropogenic; without rangelands, this figure would have been less than half. They classified all lands grazed by domestic livestock as rangelands, provided that human
[...] Read more.
Defining rangelands as anthromes enabled Ellis and Ramankutty (2008) to conclude that more than three-quarters of Earth’s land is anthropogenic; without rangelands, this figure would have been less than half. They classified all lands grazed by domestic livestock as rangelands, provided that human population densities were low; similar areas without livestock were excluded and classified instead as ‘wildlands’. This paper examines the empirical basis and conceptual assumptions of defining and categorizing rangelands in this fashion. Empirically, we conclude that a large proportion of rangelands, although used to varying degrees by domesticated livestock, are not altered significantly by this use, especially in arid, highly variable environments and in settings with long evolutionary histories of herbivory by wild animals. Even where changes have occurred, the dynamics and components of many rangelands remain structurally and functionally equivalent to those that preceded domestic livestock grazing or would be found in its absence. In much of Africa and Asia, grazing is so longstanding as to be inextricable from ‘natural’ or reference conditions for those sites. Thus, the extent of anthropogenic biomes is significantly overstated. Conceptually, rangelands reveal the dependence of the anthromes thesis on outdated assumptions of ecological climax and equilibrium. Coming to terms with rangelands—how they can be classified, understood, and managed sustainably—thus offers important lessons for understanding anthromes and the Anthropocene as a whole. At the root of these lessons, we argue, is not the question of human impacts on ecosystems but property relations among humans. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Anthropogenic Biomes)
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Open AccessArticle Toward a Global Classification of Coastal Anthromes
Land 2017, 6(1), 13; doi:10.3390/land6010013
Received: 8 December 2016 / Revised: 24 January 2017 / Accepted: 2 February 2017 / Published: 10 February 2017
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Abstract
Given incontrovertible evidence that humans are the most powerful agents of environmental change on the planet, research has begun to acknowledge and integrate human presence and activity into updated descriptions of the world’s biomes as “anthromes”. Thus far, a classification system for anthromes
[...] Read more.
Given incontrovertible evidence that humans are the most powerful agents of environmental change on the planet, research has begun to acknowledge and integrate human presence and activity into updated descriptions of the world’s biomes as “anthromes”. Thus far, a classification system for anthromes is limited to the terrestrial biosphere. Here, I present a case for the consideration and validity of coastal anthromes. Every coastal environment on Earth is subject to direct and indirect human modification and disturbance. Despite the legacy, ubiquity, and pervasiveness of human interactions with coastal ecosystems, coastal anthromes still lack formal definition. Following the original argument and framework for terrestrial anthromes, I outline a set of coastal anthrome classifications that dovetail with terrestrial and marine counterparts. Recognising coastal environments as complex and increasingly vulnerable anthropogenic systems is a fundamental step toward understanding their modern dynamics—and, by extension, realising opportunities for and limits to their resilience. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Anthropogenic Biomes)
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Open AccessArticle Late Neolithic Agriculture in Temperate Europe—A Long-Term Experimental Approach
Land 2017, 6(1), 11; doi:10.3390/land6010011
Received: 14 November 2016 / Revised: 20 January 2017 / Accepted: 24 January 2017 / Published: 7 February 2017
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Abstract
Long-term slash-and-burn experiments, when compared with intensive tillage without manuring, resulted in a huge data set relating to potential crop yields, depending on soil quality, crop type, and agricultural measures. Cultivation without manuring or fallow phases did not produce satisfying yields, and mono-season
[...] Read more.
Long-term slash-and-burn experiments, when compared with intensive tillage without manuring, resulted in a huge data set relating to potential crop yields, depending on soil quality, crop type, and agricultural measures. Cultivation without manuring or fallow phases did not produce satisfying yields, and mono-season cropping on freshly cleared and burned plots resulted in rather high yields, comparable to those produced during modern industrial agriculture - at least ten-fold the ones estimated for the medieval period. Continuous cultivation on the same plot, using imported wood from adjacent areas as fuel, causes decreasing yields over several years. The high yield of the first harvest of a slash-and-burn agriculture is caused by nutrient input through the ash produced and mobilization from the organic matter of the topsoil, due to high soil temperatures during the burning process and higher topsoil temperatures due to the soil’s black surface. The harvested crops are pure, without contamination of any weeds. Considering the amount of work required to fight weeds without burning, the slash-and-burn technique yields much better results than any other tested agricultural approach. Therefore, in dense woodland, without optimal soils and climate, slash-and-burn agriculture seems to be the best, if not the only, feasible method to start agriculture, for example, during the Late Neolithic, when agriculture expanded from the loess belt into landscapes less suitable for agriculture. Extensive and cultivation with manuring is more practical in an already-open landscape and with a denser population, but its efficiency in terms of the ratio of the manpower input to food output, is worse. Slash-and-burn agriculture is not only a phenomenon of temperate European agriculture during the Neolithic, but played a major role in land-use in forested regions worldwide, creating anthromes on a huge spatial scale. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Anthropogenic Biomes)
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Open AccessArticle Historical and Current Niche Construction in an Anthropogenic Biome: Old Cultural Landscapes in Southern Scandinavia
Land 2016, 5(4), 42; doi:10.3390/land5040042
Received: 29 September 2016 / Revised: 14 November 2016 / Accepted: 18 November 2016 / Published: 23 November 2016
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Abstract
Conceptual advances in niche construction theory provide new perspectives and a tool-box for studies of human-environment interactions mediating what is termed anthropogenic biomes. This theory is useful also for studies on how anthropogenic biomes are perceived and valued. This paper addresses these topics
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Conceptual advances in niche construction theory provide new perspectives and a tool-box for studies of human-environment interactions mediating what is termed anthropogenic biomes. This theory is useful also for studies on how anthropogenic biomes are perceived and valued. This paper addresses these topics using an example: “old cultural landscapes” in Scandinavia, i.e., landscapes formed by a long, dynamic and continuously changing history of management. Today, remnant habitats of this management history, such as wooded pastures and meadows, are the focus of conservation programs, due to their rich biodiversity and cultural and aesthetic values. After a review of historical niche construction processes, the paper examines current niche construction affecting these old cultural landscapes. Features produced by historical niche construction, e.g., landscape composition and species richness, are in the modern society reinterpreted to become values associated with beauty and heritage and species’ intrinsic values. These non-utilitarian motivators now become drivers of new niche construction dynamics, manifested as conservation programs. The paper also examines the possibility to maintain and create new habitats, potentially associated with values emanating from historical landscapes, but in transformed and urbanized landscapes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Anthropogenic Biomes)
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Review

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Open AccessReview Characterizing Islandscapes: Conceptual and Methodological Challenges Exemplified in the Mediterranean
Land 2017, 6(1), 14; doi:10.3390/land6010014
Received: 15 December 2016 / Revised: 9 February 2017 / Accepted: 10 February 2017 / Published: 17 February 2017
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Abstract
Islands across the world have evolved at the interface between land and sea, thus comprising landscapes and seascapes. Many islands have also been influenced by anthropogenic factors, which have given rise to mosaics of anthromes (sensu Ellis and Ramankutty). These elements of
[...] Read more.
Islands across the world have evolved at the interface between land and sea, thus comprising landscapes and seascapes. Many islands have also been influenced by anthropogenic factors, which have given rise to mosaics of anthromes (sensu Ellis and Ramankutty). These elements of landscapes, seascapes, and cultural impacts in varied proportions, generate unique environments which merit a unique term: islandscapes. The use of the term islandscape is advocated as the only term which encompasses all of the constituent components of an island, in a holistic manner. The aim of the paper is to evaluate the applicability of existing landscape and seascape character assessment methodologies in an island context, and to propose a methodological framework for mapping the space which defines the term ‘islandscape’. The challenges and opportunities stemming from the use of the term are exemplified with reference to the Mediterranean islands. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Anthropogenic Biomes)
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Other

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Open AccessEssay Anthropogenic Landscapes, Human Action and the Process of Co-Construction with other Species: Making Anthromes in the Anthropocene
Land 2017, 6(1), 15; doi:10.3390/land6010015
Received: 15 December 2016 / Accepted: 21 February 2017 / Published: 24 February 2017
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Abstract
We are in the Anthropocene. For millennia, human actions have been shaping the world to the degree that they are inscribed in the geological and ecological record. Recently, this has been occurring with increasing speed and influence. This means we need to be
[...] Read more.
We are in the Anthropocene. For millennia, human actions have been shaping the world to the degree that they are inscribed in the geological and ecological record. Recently, this has been occurring with increasing speed and influence. This means we need to be asking integrative and effective questions about the world and how we relate to and in it. Human niche construction has broad and deep effects not just on landscapes and environments, but on the myriad of other beings sharing space with us. Humans are self-appointed ecosystem managers and lead actors in seeking sustainability for planetary and local ecosystems. In order to accomplish this, we need to better understand how anthromes are shaped, inhabited and altered. To this end, we present two different examples of anthropogenic landscapes; one in Ethiopia and one in Bali, Indonesia. These are landscapes that are co-constructed by multiple species through complex webs of ecologies, economies and histories and represent the way that humans are drawn into relationships with non-humans; relationships which in turn alter landscapes. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Anthropogenic Biomes)

Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

1. Jenny Goldstein UCLA Department of Geography

2. Jed Kaplan ARVE Group, University of Lausanne

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