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Viewing the Future in the Past

Historical Ecology Applications to Environmental Issues

edited by H. Thomas Foster II, Lisa M. Paciulli, and David J. Goldstein



Published: Apr 15 2016


Published: May 5 2016

OA Ebook
Published: May 5 2016


The inclusion of this book in the Open Carolina collection is made possible by the generous funding of

Viewing the Future in the Past is a collection of essays that represents a wide range of authors, loci, and subjects that together demonstrate the value and necessity of looking at environmental problems as a long-term process that involves humans as a causal factor. Editors H. Thomas Foster, II, Lisa M. Paciulli, and David J. Goldstein argue that it is increasingly apparent to environmental and earth sciences experts that humans have had a profound effect on the physical, climatological, and biological earth. Consequently, they suggest that understanding any aspect of the earth within the last ten thousand years means understanding the density and activities of Homo sapiens.

The essays reveal the ways in which archaeologists and anthropologists have devised methodological and theoretical tools and applied them to pre-Columbian societies in the New World and ancient sites in the Middle East. Some of the authors demonstrate how these tools can be useful in examining modern societies. The contributors provide evidence that past and present ecosystems, economies, and landscapes must be understood through the study of human activity over millennia and across the globe.

H. Thomas Foster II is an associate professor of anthropology at the University of Tulsa. He received his Ph.D. from Pennsylvania State University and is the author of Archaeology of the Lower Muskogee Creek Indians, 1715–1836 and The Collected Works of Benjamin Hawkins, 1796–1810.

Lisa Paciulli has a Ph.D. in anthropological sciences from Stony Brook University and teaches biology at North Carolina State University. She has published articles in American Journal of Primatology, Folia Primatologica, Primate Conservation, and Journal of Medical and Biological Sciences.

David J. Goldstein is the chief of interpretation and education for three National Park Service units on St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands. He received his Ph.D. in anthropology from Southern Illinois University Carbondale and is a research associate with the Field Museum of Natural History in Chicago and a visiting lecturer at the Universidad Peruana Cayetano Heredia in Lima, Peru.

"This book ultimately offers hope for the future in addressing ecological concerns by pointing out where this approach to understanding agent based ecological choices can be applied to modern problems in some cases, and offers answers to complex problems related to our environment."—MCJA Book Reviews

"The book's historic approach to environmental management brings new ideas about how to evaluate the sustainability of forestry and agriculture, how to measure biodiversity across time and space, the necessity for history in assessing resilience, and much more. Knowledge of long-term ecological impacts offers important new tools for durable conservation."—Carole Crumley, Uppsala University, Sweden

"This is an excellent series of studies demonstrating the relevance of archaeology and historical ecology for achieving a better understanding of the modern world. How humans responded to as well as shaped environmental changes in the past, the papers in this volume show, offer lessons as well as tools for dealing with the dramatic changes that our species will be confronting in the future."—David G. Anderson, University of Tennessee

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