Historical Ecology

Agency in human–environment interaction

Authored by: Lauren Dodaro , Dustin Reuther

Routledge Handbook of Environmental Anthropology

Print publication date:  August  2016
Online publication date:  August  2016

Print ISBN: 9781138782877
eBook ISBN: 9781315768946
Adobe ISBN: 9781317667964


 Download Chapter



In anthropology, historical ecology focuses on human–environment interactions throughout time as well as the outcomes that those interactions have had and may have both locally and globally (Balée 2006; Crumley 1994; Szabó 2014). Historical ecology is a research program, meaning it is composed of proposed interdependent and fundamental principles with which some, but not necessarily all, members of the scientific community agree (Balée 2006; Lakatos 1980). Like much of anthropology, historical ecology is interdisciplinary, relying on a wide variety of data from archival sources to the natural sciences (Szabó 2014). The four fundamental principles (Balée 2006) of historical ecology are:

nearly all of Earth’s environments have been affected by humans;

humans are not inherently harmful or helpful to the environment;

different societies impact landscapes to varying degrees and in different ways depending on socioeconomic, political, and cultural factors;

a wide variety of human–environment interactions differing in both historical and ecological contexts may be studied as a total phenomenon.

Search for more...
Back to top

Use of cookies on this website

We are using cookies to provide statistics that help us give you the best experience of our site. You can find out more in our Privacy Policy. By continuing to use the site you are agreeing to our use of cookies.