Geo-ecology in the Anthropocene

E. Nadal-Romero, E. Cammeraat

Abstract


Human activities have left signatures on the Earth for millennials, and these impacts are growing in the last decades. As a consequence, recent global change suggests that Earth may have entered a new human-dominated geological epoch. In the last years, much scientific debate has focused on the definition, stratigraphic signatures and timing of the Anthropocene. However, there is no a geological evidence, because these changes must be recorded in geologic stratigraphic material. Consequently, the definition of Anthropocene is controversial and the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS) has not provided a formal and official definition.

Regardless of whether one is concerned with the proposed new Anthropogenic geologic epoch, it is evident that humans have significantly altered vegetation patterns and land cover (i.e. agriculture and subsequent land abandonment, conversion of forest to grasslands for pastoral use), water dynamics and distribution of fresh water (i.e. construction of dams), biogeochemical cycles (such as the carbon cycle), soil formation and soil erosion processes. Likewise, human have created and modified new landscapes (defined as anthropogenic landscapes).

This special issue includes 11 contributions concerning studies about the definition and timing of the Anthropocene as a new geological era, and showing some of the most important human impacts on the Earth.

Keywords


Anthropocene; human impact; biodiversity; hydrology; erosion; land use changes

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References


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DOI: https://doi.org/10.18172/cig.3876

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