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Anthromes v1

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Anthromes v1

  1. 1. Anthropogenic Biomes A 21st century framework for ecology & the earth sciences Erle C. Ellis Department of Geography & Environmental Systems University of Maryland, Baltimore County, Baltimore, MD 21250 Navin Ramankutty Department of Geography & Earth System Science Program McGill University, Montreal, QC, H3A 2K6, Canada
  2. 2. Humans now shape ecological pattern and process across most of the terrestrial biosphere. “Nature” is embedded within human systems. Ecology needs to move beyond human footprints, impacts & domination.
  3. 3. Overview Anthropogenic Biomes • Why care about Biomes? • Why do we need Anthropogenic Biomes? – A missing persons detective story • How to identify & map the biomes – An empirical approach • Anthropogenic Biomes of the World • The way forward…. – A new model for ecological research & education
  4. 4. On Biomes… • Biomes describe global patterns of species composition and ecological processes – Basic units in the ecological hierarchy… • Identified as a function of Climate, moderated by Altitude (conventionally) • Basic units for global ecosystem models – IGBP (17 classes; International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme) • Core units in ecoregion analysis of biodiversity –
  5. 5. Why Anthropogenic Biomes? • Humans control biodiversity & ecosystem processes as much as climate. Deforestation Habitat Fragmentation • Global biome maps are not realistic. Grazing – Much of biome area does not even exist (potential vegetation). – At most includes urban & agriculture (& agriculture+tree mosaic). Agriculture Urbanization • Conventional, climate-based biomes are not static anyway: – Anthropogenic climate change is altering biome location & etc… composition. • Biomes derived from global patterns of human interaction with landscapes may be a stronger model of global ecological patterns & processes.
  6. 6. Conventional Biomes ecosystem processes are a function of macroclimate (latitude, altitude, circulation) Ecosystem processes = f(C) C = Climate (precipitation & temperature)
  7. 7. Anthropogenic Biomes A Working Hypothesis: ecosystem processes in anthropogenic biomes are primarily a function of human populations and their ecosystem interactions (land use) Ecosystem processes = (in anthropogenic biomes) P T f(P,T) = Population density = Land use (how land & resources are used)
  8. 8. Anthropogenic Biomes of the World Rangelands * Ellis & Ramankutty, in press 41 Residential rangelands 42 Populated rangelands 43 Remote rangelands *Mosaic: >25% tree cover mixed with > 25% pasture and/or cropland
  9. 9. Croplands Wildlands Atlas Mountains, Morocco Alaska, USA Credit: © BigFoto. < >
  10. 10. Populated Forest Koh Samai, Thailand Credit: © Yenit Company Ltd. <>
  11. 11. Croplands Remote Rangelands Atlas Mountains, Morocco South Dakota, USA Credit: © Alexander Smart. <>
  12. 12. Populated Rangelands Atlas Mountains, Morocco
  13. 13. Remote Croplands Colombia Basin, Washington, USA Credit: © GWMA <>
  14. 14. Croplands - Residential Rainfed Mosaic Normandy, France Credit: © JH.Bernard. <>
  15. 15. Anthropogenic Biomes of the World Village Biomes Ellis & Ramankutty, in press
  16. 16. Villages Jintang County, Sichuan Province, China
  17. 17. Rice Villages Danyang County, Jiangsu Province, China
  18. 18. Urban Manhattan, New York, USA Credit: © Josh <>
  19. 19. Urban Baltimore County, Maryland, USA
  20. 20. Anthropogenic Biomes of the World Rangelands * Ellis & Ramankutty, in press 41 Residential rangelands 42 Populated rangelands 43 Remote rangelands *Mosaic: >25% tree cover mixed with > 25% pasture and/or cropland
  21. 21. Anthropogenic biomes A new framework for ecology • Only 22% of land and 11% of NPP are wild • Nature is now embedded within human systems – It is no longer possible to conserve nature by avoiding human interactions • Human interactions with the biosphere go far beyond a single dimension of impact or domination. • Beyond the “urban + agriculture + wild” model – Forests, rangelands & croplands include people! – A wide range of population interactions.
  22. 22. Anthropogenic Biomes: Conceptual Model Wildlands Forested Rangelands Croplands Villages Ellis & Ramankutty, in press Urban & dense
  23. 23. Anthropogenic Biomes Results Anthropogenic Biomes are Mosaics – Anthropogenic landscapes are heterogeneous mixtures of different land use and land cover classes. – Urban areas are embedded in agricultural areas. – Trees mixed with croplands and housing. – Managed vegetation is mixed with semi-natural vegetation (e.g. croplands in rangelands and forests). – Hillslopes & mountains are often islands of semi-natural vegetation
  24. 24. Villages Pohkara, Nepal
  25. 25. Anthropogenic biomes A new framework for education A better story… The old biosphere story… ecosystems “Human systems, with natural “Natural ecosystems with humans disturbing them”. embedded within them”. We own the biosphere: we have altered it irreversibly. Now we control its future.