Journal of Archaeological Research

, Volume 23, Issue 4, pp 369–396 | Cite as

Earth Systems, Human Agency, and the Anthropocene: Planet Earth in the Human Age

  • Todd J. Braje


A proposal to designate a new geological epoch of our own making—the Anthropocene—is being considered by the International Commission on Stratigraphy (ICS), part of the International Union of Geological Sciences. Based on a set of formal criteria, there is growing consensus for a Holocene–Anthropocene boundary set at some point in the last 200 years. A number of scientists have questioned the utility of such a designation because it overlooks the millennia-long history of human impacts on the planet and fails to focus on the causes of human domination of the Earth in favor of the effects. I review these debates and synthesize a variety of proposals for an Anthropocene beginning 10,000 years ago to as little as 50. I then review a number of parallel debates focused less on the geosciences and more on the political, social, and institutional implications of the Anthropocene. I demonstrate how and why formal ICS criteria for the designation of geological time units may be inadequate for effectively meeting the underlying rationale for designating a human-induced geological epoch and the role it is currently and, potentially, will continue to play in the court of public opinion.


Human–environmental impacts Planetary boundaries Global change Archaeology 



San Diego State University has generously supported this research with a critical thinking grant. A number of people have been instrumental in helping shape my thinking about archaeological perspectives on the Anthropocene. Insightful feedback and comments from Jon Erlandson, Torben Rick, and Bruce Smith, along with six anonymous reviewers, have been especially helpful. Thanks to Journal of Archaeological Research co-editors Gary Feinman and Douglas Price for inviting me to write this manuscript and to the editorial staff for their help in the review and production process.

References Cited

  1. Alexander, K. E., Leavenworth, W. B., Cournane, J., Cooper, A. B., Claesson, S., Brennan, S., Smith, G., Rains, L., Magness, K., Dunn, R., Law, T. K., Gee, R., Bolster, W. J., and Rosenberg, A. A. (2009). Gulf of Mexico cod in 1861: Historical analysis of fishery logbooks, with ecosystem implications. Fish and Fisheries 10: 428–449.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Andersson, A. J., Mackenzie, F. T., and Lerman, A. (2005). Coastal ocean and carbonate systems in the high CO2 world of the Anthropocene. American Journal of Science 93: 1066–1076.Google Scholar
  3. Autin, W. J., and Holbrook, J. M. (2012). Is the Anthropocene an issue of stratigraphy or pop culture. GSA Today 22: 60–61.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Balée, W. (1998). Historical ecology: Premises and postulates. In Balée, W. L. (ed.), Advances in Historical Ecology, Columbia University Press, New York, pp. 13–29.Google Scholar
  5. Balée, W. (2006). The research program of historical ecology. Annual Review of Anthropology 35: 15–24.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Balée, W., and Erikson, C. L. (eds.) (2006). Time and Complexity in Historical Ecology: Studies in the Neotropical Lowlands, Columbia University Press, New York.Google Scholar
  7. Balter, M. (2013). Archaeologists say the ‘Anthropocene’ is here—But it began long ago. Science 340: 261–262.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Barnosky, A. D. (2013). Palaeontological evidence for defining the Anthropocene. Geological Society, London, Special Publications 395: 149–165.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Barnosky, A. D., Koch, P. L., Feranec, R. S., Wing, S. L., and Shabel, A. B. (2004). Assessing the causes of late Pleistocene extinctions on the continents. Science 306: 70–75.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Barnosky, A. D., Matzke, N., Tomiya, S., Wogan, G. O., Swartz, B., Quental, T. B., Marshall, C., McGuire, J. L., Lindsey, E. L., Maguire, K. C., Mersey, B., and Ferrer, E. A. (2011). Has the Earth’s sixth mass extinction already arrived? Nature 471: 51–57.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Bergson, H. (1907). L’evolution créatrice, Librairie Félix Alcan, Paris.Google Scholar
  12. Braje, T. J., and Erlandson, J. M. (2013a). Human acceleration of animal and plant extinctions: A late Pleistocene, Holocene, and Anthropocene continuum. Anthropocene 4: 14–23.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Braje, T. J., and Erlandson, J. M. (2013b). Looking forward, looking back: Humans, anthropogenic change, and the Anthropocene. Anthropocene 4: 116–121.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Braje, T. J., Erlandson, J. M., Aikens, C. M., Beach, T., Fitzpatrick, S., Gonzalez, S., Kennett, D. J., Kirch, P. V., Lee, G., Lightfoot, K. G., McClure, S. B., Panich, L. M., Roosevelt, A. C., Schneider, T. D., Smith, B., and Zeder, M. A. (2014). An Anthropocene without archaeology—Should we care? The SAA Archaeological Record 14: 26–29.Google Scholar
  15. Braje, T. J., Erlandson, J. M., Rick, T. C., Dayton, P. K., and Hatch, M. (2009). Fishing from past to present: Long-term continuity and resilience of red abalone fisheries on California’s Northern Channel Islands. Ecological Applications 19: 906–919.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Braje, T. J., and Rick, T. C. (2013). From forest fires to fisheries management: Anthropology, conservation biology, and historical ecology. Evolutionary Anthropology 22: 303–311.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Buizer, M., Kurz, T., and Ruthrof, K. (2012). Understanding restoration volunteering in a context of environmental change: In pursuit of novel ecosystems or historical analogues? Human Ecology 40: 153–160.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Burney, D. A., and Flannery, T. F. (2005). Fifty millennia of catastrophic extinctions after human contact. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 20: 395–401.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Ceballos, G., Garcia, A., and Ehrlich, P. R. (2010). The sixth extinction crisis. Journal of Cosmology 8: 1821–1831.Google Scholar
  20. Certini, G., and Scalenghe, R. (2011). Anthropogenic soils are the golden spikes for the Anthropocene. The Holocene 21: 1269–1274.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Chapin III, F. S., Carpenter, S. R., Kofinas, G. P., Folke, C., Abel, N., Clark, W. C., Olsson, P., Smith, M. S., Walker, B., Young, O. R., Berkes, F., Biggs, R., Grove, J. M., Naylor, R. L., Pinkerton, E., Steffen, W., and Swanson, F. J. (2010). Ecosystem stewardship: Sustainability strategies for a rapidly changing planet. Trends in Ecology & Evolution 25: 241–249.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Chapin III, F. S., Kofinas, G. P., and Folke, C. (2009). Principles of Ecosystem Stewardship: Resilience-Based Natural Resource Management in a Changing World, Springer, New York.Google Scholar
  23. Choi, Y. D. (2007). Restoration ecology to the future: A call for new paradigm. Restoration Ecology 15: 351–353.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Choi, Y. D., Temperton, V. M., Allen, E. B., Grootjans, A. P., Halassy, M., Hobbs, R. J., Naeth, M. A., and Torok, K. (2008). Ecological restoration for future sustainability in a changing environment. Ecoscience 15: 53–64.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Clark, G. A. (1993). Paradigms in science and archaeology. Journal of Archaeological Research 1: 203–234.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Collier, M. J., and Scott, M. (2009). Conflicting rationalities, knowledge and values in scarred landscapes. Journal of Rural Studies 25: 267–277.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Costanza, R., van der Leeuw, S., Hibbard, K., Aulenbach, S., Brewer, S., Burek, M., Cornell, S., Crumley, C., Dearing, J., Folke, C., Graumlich, L., Hegmon, M., Heckbert, S., Jackson, S. T., Kubiszewski, I., Scarborough, V., Sinclair, P., Sorlin, S., and Steffen, W. (2012). Developing an integrated history and future of people on Earth (IHOPE). Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability 4: 106–114.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Crist, E. (2007). Beyond the climate crisis: A critique of climate change discourse. Telos 141: 129–147.Google Scholar
  29. Crist, E. (2013). On the poverty of our nomenclature. Environmental Humanities 3: 129–147.Google Scholar
  30. Crosby, A. W. (2004). Ecological Imperialism: The Biological Expansion of Europe, 900-1900, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Crossland, C. J., Kremer, H. H., Lindeboom, H. J., Marshall Crossland, J. I., and Le Tissier, M. D. (eds.) (2005). Coastal Fluxes in the Anthropocene, Springer, Berlin.Google Scholar
  32. Crumley, C. L. (ed.) (1994). Historical Ecology: Cultural Knowledge and Changing Landscapes, School of American Research Press, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  33. Crumley, C. L. (2007). Historical ecology: Integrated thinking at multiple temporal and spatial scales. In Hornborg, A., and Crumley, C. (eds.), The World System and the Earth System: Global Socio-Environmental Change and Sustainability Since the Neolithic, Left Coast Press, Walnut Creek, CA, pp. 15–28.Google Scholar
  34. Crutzen, P. J. (2002a). Geology of mankind. Nature 415: 23.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Crutzen, P. J. (2002b). The ‘Anthropocene.’ Journal de Physique IV 12: 1–5.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Crutzen, P. J., and Steffen, W. (2003). How long have we been in the Anthropocene era? Climatic Change 61: 251–257.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Crutzen, P. J., and Stoermer, E. F. (2000). The ‘Anthropocene.’ Global Change Newsletter 41: 17–18.Google Scholar
  38. DeFries, R. S., Ellis, E. C., Chapin III, F. S., Matson, P. A., Turner II, B. L., Agrawal, A., Crutzen, P. J., Field, C., Gleick, P., Kareiva, P. M., Lambin, E., Liverman, E. O., Sanchez, P. A., and Syvitski, J. (2012). Planetary opportunities: A social contract for global change science to contribute to a sustainable future. BioScience 62: 603–606.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Dietl, G. P., and Flessa, K. W. (eds.) (2009). Conservation Paleobiology: Using the Past to Manage for the Future, The Paleontological Society, Boulder, CO.Google Scholar
  40. Dietl, G. P., and Flessa, K. W. (2011). Conservation paleobiology: Putting the dead to work. Trends in Ecology and Evolution 26: 30–37.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Doughty, C. E., Wolf, A., and Field, C. B. (2010). Biophysical feedbacks between Pleistocene megafauna extinction and climate: The first human-induced global warming? Geophysical Research Letters 37: L15703.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Edgeworth, M. (2013). The relationship between archaeological stratigraphy and artificial ground and its significance in the Anthropocene. Geological Society, London, Special Publications 395: 91–108.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Edgeworth, M. (2014). Archaeology of the Anthropocene. Journal of Contemporary Archaeology 1: 73–77.Google Scholar
  44. Ellis, E. C. (2011). Anthropogenic transformation of the terrestrial biosphere. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A 369: 1010–1035.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Ellis, E. (2012). The planet of no return: Human resilience on an artificial Earth. In Shellenberger, M., and Nordhaus, T. (eds.), Love Your Monsters, Breakthrough Institute, USA (
  46. Ellis, E. C., Fuller, D. Q., Kaplan, J. O., and Lutters, W. G. (2013). Dating the Anthropocene: Towards an empirical global history of human transformation of the terrestrial biosphere. Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene. doi: 10.12952/journal.elementa.000018.
  47. Erikson, C. L. (2008). Amazonia: The historical ecology of a domesticated landscape. In Silverman, H., and Isbell, W. (eds.), Handbook of South American Archaeology, Springer, New York, pp. 157–183.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Erlandson, J. M. (2013). Shell middens and other anthropogenic soils as global stratigraphic signatures of the Anthropocene. Anthropocene 4: 24–32.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Erlandson, J. M., and Braje, T. J. (2013). Archaeology and the Anthropocene. Anthropocene 4: 1–7.Google Scholar
  50. Flannery, K. V. (1967). Culture history versus culture process: A debate in American archaeology. Scientific American 217: 119–122.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Foley, S. F., Gronenborn, D., Andreae, M. O., Kadereit, J. W., Esper, J., Scholz, D., Pöschl, U., Jacob, D. E., Schöne, B. R., Schreg, R., Vött, A., Jordan, D., Lelieveld, J., Weller, C. G., Alt, K. W., Gaudzinski-Windheuser, S., Bruhn, K., Tost, H., Sirocko, F., and Crutzen, P. J. (2013). The Palaeoanthropocene: The beginnings of anthropogenic environmental change. Anthropocene 3: 83–88.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Fuller, D., van Etten, J., Manning, K., Castillo, C., Kingwell-Banham, E., Weisskopf, A., Qin, L., Sato, Y., and Hijmans, R. J. (2011). The contribution of rice agriculture and livestock pastoralism to prehistoric methane levels: An archaeological assessment. The Holocene 21: 743–759.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Gale, S. J., and Hoare, P. G. (2012). The stratigraphic status of the Anthropocene. The Holocene 22: 1491–1494.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Grayson, D. K., and Delpech, F. (2005). Pleistocene reindeer and global warming. Conservation Biology 1: 2–9.Google Scholar
  55. Green, R. C. (2000). Tigger’s holistic archaeology and Pacific culture history. In Boyd, M., Erwin, J. C., and Hendrickson, M. (eds.), The Entangled Past: Integrating History and Archaeology, Archaeological Association, University of Calgary, Alberta, pp. 127–137.Google Scholar
  56. Grossinger, R., Striplen, C. J., Askevold, R. A., Brewster, E., and Beller, E. E. (2007). Historical landscape ecology of an urbanized California valley: Wetlands and woodlands in the Santa Clara Valley. Landscape Ecology 22: 103–120.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Haynes, G. (ed.) (2009). American Megafaunal Extinctions at the End of the Pleistocene, Springer, New York.Google Scholar
  58. Harrison, R., and Maher, R. (eds.) (2014). Long-Term Ecodynamics in the North Atlantic: An Archaeological Study, Lexington, Lanham, MD.Google Scholar
  59. Heckbert, S., Costanza, R., and Parrott, L. (2014). Achieving sustainable societies: Lessons from modelling the Ancient Maya. Solutions Journal 5: 55–64.Google Scholar
  60. Hobbs, R. J., and Cramer, V. A. (2008). Restoration ecology: Interventionist approaches for restoring and maintaining ecosystem function in the face of rapid environmental change. Annual Review of Environment and Resources 33: 39–61.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Hobbs, R. J., Davis, M. A., Slobodkin, L. B., Lackey, R. T., Halvorson, W., and Throop, W. (2004). Restoration ecology: The challenge of social values and expectations. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 2: 43–48.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Hobbs, R. J., Hallett, L. M., Ehrlich, P. R., and Mooney, H. A. (2011). Intervention ecology: Applying ecological science in the twenty-first century. Bioscience 61: 442–450.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. ISSC (International Subcommission on Stratigraphic Classification) of IUGS International Commission on Stratigraphy. (1994). International Stratigraphic Guide, 2nd ed., International Union of Geological Sciences, Trondheim, Norway.Google Scholar
  64. Jackson, S. T., and Hobbs, R. J. (2009). Ecological restoration in the light of ecological history. Science 325: 567–569.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Jensen, D. (2013). Age of the sociopath. Earth Island Journal (
  66. Lentz, D. L., Dunning, N. P., Scarborough, V. L., Magee, K. S., Thompson, K. M., Weaver, E., Carr, C., Terry, R. E., Islebe, G., Tankersley, K. B., Sierra, L. G., Jones, J. G., Buttles, P., Valdez, F., and Hernández, C. E. (2014). Forests, fields, and the edge of sustainability at the ancient Maya city of Tikal. Proceeding of the National Academy of Sciences USA 111: 18513–18518.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Lepofsky, D. (2009). The past, present, and future of traditional resource and environmental management. Journal of Ethnobiology 29: 161–166.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Lightfoot, K. G., Panich, L. M., Schneider, T. D., and González, S. L. (2013). European colonialism and the Anthropocene: A view from the Pacific Coast of North America. Anthropocene 4: 101–115.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Lyman, R. L. (2012). A warrant for applied paleozoology. Biological Reviews 87: 513–525.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Lyman, R. L., and Cannon, K. P. (eds.) (2004). Zooarchaeology and Conservation Biology, University of Utah Press, Salt Lake City.Google Scholar
  71. Lyons, S. K., Smith, F. A., and Brown, J. H. (2004). Of mice, mastodons and men: Human-mediated extinctions on four continents. Evolutionary Ecology Research 6: 339–358.Google Scholar
  72. Malm, A., and Hornborg, A. (2014). The geology of mankind? A critique of the Anthropocene narrative. The Anthropocene Review 1: 62–69.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Marsh, G. P. (1864). Man and Nature, Scribner, New York.Google Scholar
  74. McClenachan, L. M. (2009). Documenting the loss of large trophy fish from the Florida Keys with historical photographs. Conservation Biology 23: 636–643.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Merton, R. (1968). Social Theory and Social Structure, Free Press, New York.Google Scholar
  76. Meybeck, M. (2003). Global analysis of river systems: From Earth system controls to Anthropocene syndromes. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B 358: 1935–1955.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  77. Montgomery, D. R. (2008). Dreams of natural streams. Science 319: 291–292.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  78. NACSN (North American Commission on Stratigraphic Nomenclature). (2005). North American stratigraphic code. AAPG Bulletin 89: 1547–1591.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Randklev, C. R., Wolverton, S., Lundeen, B., and Kennedy, J. H. (2010). A paleozoological perspective on unionid (Mollusca: Unionidae) zoogeography in the upper Trinity River Basin, Texas. Ecological Applications 20: 2359–2368.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Rick, T. C., Kirch, P. V., Erlandson, J. M., and Fitzpatrick, S. M. (2013). Archaeology, deep history, and the human transformation of island ecosystems. Anthropocene 4: 33–45.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. Rick, T. C., and Lockwood, R. (2013). Integrating paleobiology, archaeology, and history to inform biological conservation. Conservation Biology 27: 45–54.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. Rockström, J., Steffen, W., Noone, K., Persson, Å., Chappin III, F. S., Lambin, E. F., Lenton, T. M., Scheffer, M., Folke, C., Schellnhuber, H. J., Nykvist, B., de Wit, C. A., Hughes, T., van der Leeuw, S., Rodhe, H., Sörlin, S., Snyder, P. K., Costanza, R., Svedin, U., Falkenmark, M., Karlberg, L., Corell, R. W., Fabry, V. J., Hansen, J., Walker, B., Liverman, D., Richardson, K., Crutzen, P., and Foley, J. A. (2009). A safe operating space for humanity. Nature 461: 472–475.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  83. Roosevelt, A. C. (2013). The Amazon and the Anthropocene: 13,000 years of human influence in a tropic rainforest. Anthropocene 4: 69–87.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  84. Ruddiman, W. F. (2003). The anthropogenic greenhouse era began thousands of years ago. Climatic Change 61: 261–293.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  85. Ruddiman, W. F. (2004). Early anthropogenic overprints on Holocene climate. PAGES News 12: 18–19.Google Scholar
  86. Ruddiman, W. F. (2005a). How did humans first alter global climate? Scientific American 292: 46–53.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  87. Ruddiman, W. F. (2005b). The early anthropogenic hypothesis a year later (and editorial reply). Climatic Change 69: 427–434.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  88. Ruddiman, W. F. (2006). On “The Holocene CO2 rise: Anthropogenic or natural?” Eos, Transactions American Geophysical Union 87: 352–353.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  89. Ruddiman, W. F. (2007). The early anthropogenic hypothesis: Challenges and responses. Reviews of Geophysics 45: RG4001.Google Scholar
  90. Ruddiman, W. F. (2013). The Anthropocene. Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences 41: 45–68.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  91. Ruddiman, W. F., and Ellis, E. (2009). Effect of per-capita land-use changes on Holocene forest cover and CO2 emissions. Quaternary Science Reviews 28: 3011–3015.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  92. Ruddiman, W. F., Guo, Z., Zhou, X., Wu, H., and Yu, Y. (2008). Early rice farming and anomalous methane trends. Quaternary Science Reviews 27: 1291–1295.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  93. Ruddiman, W. F., and Thomson, J. S. (2001). The case for human causes of increased atmospheric CH4 over the last 5000 years. Quaternary Science Reviews 20: 1769–1777.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  94. Sandom, C., Faurby, S., Sandel, B., and Svenning, J. (2014). Global late Quaternary megafauna extinctions linked to humans, not climate change. Proceedings of the Royal Society B 281: 20133254.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  95. Simon, J. L. (1996). The Ultimate Resource 2, Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ.Google Scholar
  96. Smith, F. A., Elliott, S. M., and Lyons, S. K. (2010). Methane emissions from extinct megafauna. Nature Geoscience 3: 1–2.Google Scholar
  97. Smith, B. D., and Zeder, M. A. (2013). The onset of the Anthropocene. Anthropocene 4: 8–13.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  98. Solli, B., Burström, M., Domanska, E., Edgeworth, M., González-Ruibal, A., Holtorf, C., Lucas, G., Oestigaard, T., Smith, L., and Witmore, C. (2011). Some reflections on heritage and archaeology in the Anthropocene. Norwegian Archaeological Review 44: 40–88.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  99. Steffen, W., Crutzen, P. J., and McNeill, J. R. (2007). The Anthropocene: Are humans now overwhelming the great forces of nature. AMBIO: A Journal of the Human Environment 36: 614–621.Google Scholar
  100. Steffen, W., Grinevald, J., Crutzen, P., and McNeill, J. (2011a). The Anthropocene: Conceptual and historical perspectives. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A 369: 842–867.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  101. Steffen W., Persson, Å., Deutsch, L., Zalasiewicz, J., Williams, M., Richardson, K., Crumley, C., Crutzen, P., Folke, C., Gordon, L., Molina, M., Ramanathan, V., Rockström, J., Scheffer, M., Schellnhuber, H. J., and Svedin, U. (2011b). The Anthropocene: From global change to planetary stewardship. AMBIO: A Journal of the Human Environment 40: 739–761.Google Scholar
  102. Steffen, W., Sanderson, A., Tyson, P. D., Jäger, J., Matson, P. A., Moore III, B., Oldfield, F., Richardson, K., Schellnhuber, H. J., Turner II, B. L., and Wasson, R. J. (2004). Global Change and the Earth System: A Planet Under Pressure, Springer, Berlin.Google Scholar
  103. Stoppani, A. (1873). Corsa di geologia, Bernardoni and Brigola, Milan.Google Scholar
  104. Swetnam, T. W., Allen, C. D., and Betancourt, J. L. (1999). Applied historical ecology: Using the past to manage for the future. Ecological Applications 9: 1189–1206.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  105. Syvitski, J. P., Vörösmarty, C. J., Kettner, A. J., and Green, P. (2005). Impact of humans on the flux of terrestrial sediment to the global coastal ocean. Science 308: 376–380.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  106. Szabo, P., and Hédl, R. (2011). Advancing the integration of history and ecology for conservation. Conservation Biology 25: 680–687.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  107. Teilhard de Chardin, P. (1966). Vision of the Past, Collins, London.Google Scholar
  108. Thomas, W. L., Jr. (ed.) (1956). Man’s Role in Changing the Face of the Earth, University of Chicago Press, Chicago.Google Scholar
  109. Thompson, V. D. (2013). Whispers on the landscape. In Thompson, V. D., and Waggoner, J. C., Jr. (eds.), The Archaeology and Historical Ecology of Small Scale Economies, University Press of Florida, Gainesville, pp. 1–13.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  110. Throop, W., and Purdom, R. (2006). Wilderness restoration: The paradox of public participation. Restoration Ecology 14: 493–499.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  111. Trigger, B. C. (2006). A History of Archaeological Thought, 2nd ed., Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  112. Turner II, B. L., Clark, W. C., Kates, R. W., Richards, J. F., and Meyer, W. B. (eds.) (1990). The Earth As Transformed by Human Action: Global and Regional Changes in the Biosphere over the Past 300 Years, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge.Google Scholar
  113. van der Leeuw, S. E., Costanza, R., Aulenbach, S., Brewer, S., Burek, M., Cornell, S., Crumley, C., Dearing, J. A., Downy, C., Graumlich, L. J., Heckbert, S., Hegmon, M., Hibbard, K., Jackson, S. T., Kubiszewski, I., Sinclair, P., Sörlin, S., and Steffen, W. (2011). Toward an integrated history to guide the future. Ecology and Society 16: 2.Google Scholar
  114. Vernadsky, V. I. (1924). La géochimie, Librairie Félix Alcan, Paris.Google Scholar
  115. Vernadsky, V. I. (1945). The biosphere and the noösphere. American Scientific 33: 1–12.Google Scholar
  116. Visconti, G. (2014). Anthropocene: Another academic invention? Rendiconti Lincei 25: 381–392.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  117. Wolverton, S., and Lyman, R. L. (eds.) (2012). Conservation Biology and Applied Zooarchaeology, University of Arizona Press, Tucson.Google Scholar
  118. Zalasiewicz, J. (2008). The Earth After Us: What Legacy Will Humans Leave in the Rocks? Oxford University Press, Oxford.Google Scholar
  119. Zalasiewicz, J., Waters, C. N., Williams, M., Barnosky, A. D., Cearreta, A., Crutzen, P., Ellis, E., Ellis, M. A., Fairchild, I. J., Grinevald, J., Haff, P. K., Hajdas, I., Leinfelder, R., McNeill, J., Odada, E. O., Poirier, C., Richter, D., Steffen, W., Summerhayes, C., Syvitski, J. P. M., Vidas, D., Wagreich, M., Wing, S. L., Wolfe, A. P., An, Z., and Oreskes, N. (2015). When did the Anthropocene begin? A mid-twentieth century boundary level is stratigraphically optimal. Quaternary International. doi: 10.1016/j.quaint.2014.11.045.Google Scholar
  120. Zalasiewicz, J., Williams, M., Fortey, R., Smith, A., Barry, T. L., Coe, A. L., Bown, P. R., Rawson, P. F., Gale, A., Gibbard, P., Gregory, F. J., Hounslow, M. W., Kerr, A. C., Pearson, P., Knox, R., Powell, J., Waters, C., Marshall, J., Oates, M., and Stone, P. (2011a). Stratigraphy of the Anthropocene. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A 369: 1036–1055.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  121. Zalasiewicz, J., Williams, M., Haywood, A., and Ellis, M. (2011b). The Anthropocene: A new epoch of geological time? Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A 369: 835–841.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  122. Zalasiewicz, J., Williams, M., Smith, A., Barry, T. L., Coe, A. L., Bown, P. R., Brenchley, P., Cantrill, D., Gale, A., Gibbard, P., Gregory, F. J., Hounslow, M. W., Kerr, A. C., Pearson, P., Knox, R., Powell, J., Waters, C., Marshall, J., Oates, M., Rawson, P., and Stone, P. (2008). Are we now living in the Anthropocene? GSA Today 18: 4–8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  123. Zalasiewicz, J., Williams, M., Steffen, W., and Crutzen, P. (2010). The new world of the Anthropocene. Environmental Science & Technology 44: 2228–2231.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Bibliography of recent literature

  1. Aikens, C. M., and Lee, G. (2013). Postglacial inception and growth of anthropogenic landscapes in China, Korea, Japan, and the Russian Far East. Anthropocene 4: 46–56.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Barnosky, A. D., Brown, J. H., Daily, G. C., Dirzo, R., Ehrlich, A. H., Ehrlich, P. R., Eronen, J. T., Fortelius, M., Hadley, E. A., Leopold, E. B., Mooney, H. A., Myers, J. P., Naylor, R. L., Palumbi, S., Stenseth, N. C., and Wake, M. H. (2014). Introducing the scientific consensus on maintaining humanity’s life support systems in the 21st century: Information for policy makers. The Anthropocene Review 1: 78–109.Google Scholar
  3. Barnosky, A. D., and Hadly, E. A. (2014). Problem solving in the Anthropocene. The Anthropocene Review 1: 76–77.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Barnosky, A. D., Hadly, E. A., Dirzo, R., Fortelius, M., and Stenseth, N. C. (2014). Translating science for decision makers to help navigate the Anthropocene. The Anthropocene Review 1: 160–170.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Benjamin, J. (2014). The industrial sonifact and the soundscape of the Anthropocene. Journal of Contemporary Archaeology 1: 119–123.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Berkhout, F. (2014) Anthropocene futures. The Anthropocene Review 1: 154–159.Google Scholar
  7. Biermann, F. (2014). The Anthropocene: A governance perspective. The Anthropocene Review 1: 57–61.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Biermann, F., Abbortt, K., Andresen, S., Bäckstrand, K., Bernstein, S., Betsill, M. M., Bulkeley, H., Cashore, B., Clapp, J., Folke, C., Gupta, A., Gupta, J., Haas, P. M., Jordan, A., Kanie, N., Kluvánková-Orovská, T., Lebel, L., Liverman, D., Meadowcroft, J., Mitchell, R. B., Newell, P., Oberthür, S., Olsson, L., Pattberg, P., Sánchez-Rodríguez, R., Schroeder, H., Underdal, A., Camargo Vieira, S., Vogel, C., Young, O. R., Brock, A., and Zondervan, R. (2012). Navigating the Anthropocene: Improving Earth system governance. Science 335: 1306–1307.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Brown, T., Bennett, J., and Rhodes, E. (2009). Roman mining on Exmoor: A geomorphological approach at Anstey’s Combe, Dulverton. Environmental Archaeology 14: 50–61.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Brown, A., Toms, P., Carey, C., and Rhodes, E. (2013). Geomorphology of the Anthropocene: Time-transgressive discontinuities of human-induced alluviation. Anthropocene 1: 3–13.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Brown, A. G., Tooth, S., Chiverrell, R., Rose, J., Thomas, D. S. G., Wainwright, J., Bullard, J., Thorndycraft, V., Aalto, R., and Downes, P., (2013). The Anthropocene: Is there a geomorphological case? Earth Surface Processes and Landforms 38: 431–434.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Caro, T., Darwin, J., Forrester, T., Ledoux-Bloom, C., and Wells, C. (2012). Conservation in the Anthropocene. Conservation Biology 26: 185–188.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Chapin III, F. S., and Fernández, E. (2013). Proactive ecology for the Anthropocene. Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene. doi: 10.12952/journal.elementa.000013.Google Scholar
  14. Chin, A., Fu, R., Harbor, J., Taylor, M. P., and Vanacker, V. (2013). Anthropocene: Human interactions with Earth systems. Anthropocene 1: 1–2.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Clarke, B. (2014). “The Anthropocene,” or, Gaia shrugs. Journal of Contemporary Archaeology 1: 101–104.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Corlett, R. T., (2015). The Anthropocene concept in ecology and conservation. Trends in Ecology & Evolution 30: 36–41.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Crossland, Z. (2014). Anthropocene: Locating agency, imagining the future. Journal of Contemporary Archaeology 1: 123–128.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Crutzen, P. J. (2002). The effects of industrial and agricultural practices on atmospheric chemistry and climate change during the Anthropocene. Journal of Environmental Science and Health A 37: 423–424.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Crutzen, P. J. (2005). Human impact on climate has made this the “Anthropocene age.” New Perspectives Quarterly 22: 14–16.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Dawdy, S. L. (2009). Millennial archaeology. Locating the discipline in the age of insecurity. Archaeological Dialogues 16: 131–142.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Dirzo, R., Young, H. S., Galetti, M., Ceballos, Isaac, N. J., and Collen, B. (2014). Defaunation in the Anthropocene. Science 345: 401–406.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Domanska, E. (2014). The new age of the Anthropocene. Journal of Contemporary Archaeology 1: 96–101.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Ellis, E. C., Antill, E. C., and Kreft, H. (2012). All is not loss: Plant biodiversity in the Anthropocene. PLoS One. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0030535.Google Scholar
  24. Ellis, E. C., and Haff, P. K. (2009). Earth science in the Anthropocene: New epoch, new paradigm, new responsibilities. Eos, Transactions American Geophysical Union 90: 473.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Fischer-Kowalski, M., Krausmann, F., and Pallua, I. (2014). A sociometabolic reading of the Anthropocene: Modes of subsistence, population size and human impact on Earth. The Anthropocene Review 1: 8–33.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Foulds, S. A., Macklin, M. G., and Brewer, P. A. (2013). Agro-industrial alluvium in the Swale catchment, northern England, as an event marker for the Anthropocene. The Holocene 23: 587–602.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Frank, A., and Sullivan, W. (2014). Sustainability and the astrobiological perspective: Framing human futures in a planetary context. Anthropocene 5: 32–41.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Gillings, M. R., and Paulsen, I. T. (2014). Microbiology of the Anthropocene. Anthropocene 5: 1–8.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Glikson, A. (2013). Fire and human evolution: The deep-time blueprints of the Anthropocene. Anthropocene 3: 89–92.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Guillaume, B. (2014). Vernadsky’s philosophical legacy: A perspective from the Anthropocene. The Anthropocene Review 1: 137–146.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Head, L. (2014). Contingencies of the Anthropocene: Lessons from the ‘Neolithic.’ The Anthropocene Review 1: 113–125.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Haff, P. (2014). Humans and technology in the Anthropocene: Six rules. The Anthropocene Review 1: 126–136.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Harden, C. P., Chin, A., English, M. R., Fu, R., Galvin, K. A., Gerlak, A. K., McDowell, P. F., McNamara, D. E., Peterson, J. M., Poff, N. L., Rosa, E. A., Solecki, W. D., and Wohl, E. E. (2014). Understanding human-landscape interactions in the “Anthropocene.” Environmental Management 53: 4–13.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Harris, C. E. (2014). Archaeological stratigraphy: A paradigm for the Anthropocene. Journal of Contemporary Archaeology 1: 105–109.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Jefferson, A. J., Wegmann, K. W., and Chin, A. (2013). Geomorphology of the Anthropocene: Understanding the surficial legacy of past and present human activities. Anthropocene 2: 1–3.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Jones, N. (2011). Human influence come of age. Nature 473: 133.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Jordan, H., and Prosser, C. (2014). Indicators of the Anthropocene: Is there a case for conservation? Geology Today 2: 61–66.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Kennett, D. J., and Beach, T. (2013). Archaeological and environmental lessons for the Anthropocene from the Classic Maya collapse. Anthropocene 4: 88–100.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Knight, J., and Harrison, S. (2014). Limitations of uniformitarianism in the Anthropocene. Anthropocene 5: 71–75.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Kotchen, M. J., and Young, O. R. (2007). Meeting the challenges of the anthropocene: Towards a science of coupled human-biophysical systems. Global Environmental Change 17: 149–151.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Mauelshagen, F. (2014). Redefining historical climatology in the Anthropocene. The Anthropocene Review 1: 171–204.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. McClure, S. B. (2013). Domesticated animals and biodiversity: Early agriculture at the gates of Europe and long-term ecological consequences. Anthropocene 4: 57–68.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. McMichael, A. J. (2014). Population health in the Anthropocene: Gains, losses and emerging trends. The Anthropocene Review 1: 44–56.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Oldfield, F., and Steffen, W. (2014). Anthropogenic climate change and the nature of Earth system science. The Anthropocene Review 1: 70–75.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Oldfield, F., Barnosky, A. D., Dearing, J., Fischer-Kowalski, M., McNeill, J., Steffen, W., and Zalasiewicz, J. (2014). The Anthropocene Review: Its significance, implications and the rationale for a new transdisciplinary journal. The Anthropocene Review 1: 3–7.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Palsson, G., Szerszynski, B., Sörlin, S., Marks, J., Avril, B., Crumley, C., Hackmann, H., Holm, P., Ingram, J., Kirman, A., Pardo Buendía, M., and Weehuizen, R. (2013). Reconceptualizing the ‘anthropos’ in the Anthropocene: Integrating the social sciences and humanities in global environmental change research. Environmental Science & Policy 28: 3–13.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Paz, J. V. (2014). Archaeology and Anthropocene discourses. Journal of Contemporary Archaeology 1: 110–113.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Pievani, T. (2014). The sixth mass extinction: Anthropocene and the human impact on biodiversity. Rendiconti Lincei 25: 85–93.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Price, S. J., Ford, J. R., Cooper, A. H., and Neal, C. (2011). Humans as major geological and geomorphological agents in the Anthropocene: The significance of artificial ground in Britain. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A 18: 143–153.Google Scholar
  50. Revkin, A. C. (1992). Global Warming: Understanding the Forecast, Abbeville Press, New York.Google Scholar
  51. Robbins, P., and Moore, S. A. (2013). Ecological anxiety disorder: Diagnosing the politics of the Anthropocene. Cultural Geographies 20: 3–19.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Robin, L., and Steffen, W. (2007). History for the Anthropocene. History Compass 5: 1694–1719.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Ruddiman, W., Vavrus, S., Kutzbach, J., and He, F. (2014). Does pre-industrial warming double the anthropogenic total? The Anthropocene Review 1: 147–153.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Skalak, K. J., Benthem, A. J., Schenk, E. R., Hupp, C. R., Galloway, J. M., Nustad, R. A., and Wiche, G. J. (2013). Large dams and alluvial rivers in the Anthropocene: The impacts of the Garrison and Oahe Dams on the Upper Missouri River. Anthropocene 2: 51–64.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Slaughter, R. A. (2012). Welcome to the Anthropocene. Futures 44: 119–126.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Steffen, W. (2006). The Anthropocene, global change and sleeping giants: Where on Earth are we going? Carbon Balance and Management 1: 3.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Syvitski, J. P. (2012). Anthropocene: An epoch of our making. Global Change (International GeosphereBiosphere Programme) 78: 12–15.Google Scholar
  58. Tickell, C. (2011). Societal responses to the Anthropocene. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A 369: 926–932.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Vince, G. (2011). An epoch debate. Science 334: 32–37.Google Scholar
  60. Vitousek, P. (2013). Pacific islands in the Anthropocene. Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene. doi: 10.12952/journal.elementa.000011.Google Scholar
  61. Walker, M. J., Berkelhammer, M., Björck, S., Cwynar, L. C., Fisher, D. A., Long, A. J., Lowe, J. J., Newnham, R. M., Rasmussen, S. O., and Weiss, H. (2012). Formal subdivision of the Holocene Series/Epoch: A discussion paper by a working group of INTIMATE (Integration of ice-core, marine and terrestrial records) and the Subcommission on Quaternary Stratigraphy (International Commission on Stratigraphy). Journal of Quaternary Science 27: 649–659.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Waters, C. N., Zalasiewicz, J. A., Williams, M., Ellis, M. A., and Snelling, A. M. (2014). A stratigraphical basis for the Anthropocene? Geological Society, London, Special Publications 395: 1–21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Williams, J., and Crutzen, P. J. (2013). Perspectives on our planet in the Anthropocene. Environmental Chemistry 10: 269–280.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Whitmore, C. (2014). Archaeology, the Anthropocene and the hypanthropocene. Journal of Contemporary Archaeology 1: 128–132.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Wohl, E. (2013). Wilderness is dead: Whither critical zone studies and geomorphology in the Anthropocene? Anthropocene 2: 4–15.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Wolfe, A. P., Hobbs, W. O., Birks, H. H., Briner, J. P., Holmgren, S. U., Ingólfsson, Ó., Kaushal, S. S., Miller, G. H., Pagani, M., Saros, J. E., and Vinebrook, R. D. (2013). Stratigraphic expression of the Holocene-Anthropocene transition revealed in sediments from remote lakes. Earth-Science Reviews 116: 17–34.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Woodbridge, J., Fyfe, R., Law, B., and Haworth-Johns, A. (2012). A spatial approach to upland vegetation change and human impact: The Aber Valley, Snowdonia. Environmental Archaeology 17: 80–94.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Zalasiewicz, J. (2013). The epoch of humans. Nature Geoscience 6: 8–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Zalasiewicz, J., Kryza, R., and Williams, M. (2014). The mineral signature of the Anthropocene in its deep-time context. Geological Society, London, Special Publications 395: 109–117.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Zalasiewicz, J., Waters, C. N., and Williams, M. (2014). Human bioturbation, and the subterranean landscapes of the Anthropocene. Anthropocene 6: 3–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Zalasiewicz, J., Williams, M., and Waters, C. N. (2014). Can an Anthropocene series be defined and recognized?. Geological Society, London, Special Publications 395: 39–53.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Zalasiewicz, J., Williams, M., Waters, C. N., Barnosky, A. D., and Haff, P. (2014). The technofossil record of humans. The Anthropocene Review 1: 34–43.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Zarankin, A., and Salemo, A. M. (2014). The “wild” continent? Some discussions on the Anthropocene in Antarctica. Journal of Contemporary Archaeology 1: 114–118.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of AnthropologySan Diego State UniversitySan DiegoUSA

Personalised recommendations