Living in an epoch when environmental issues make the headlines, this is a work that goes beyond the everyday. The authors carrying out research in six Asian and African countries come together to ask how and why human impacts on nature grew in scale and pace from a long pre-history. Eschewing any easy labels, this is a collection that will give food for thought to scholars and concerned citizens alike.
Ecologies as diverse as the Himalaya and the Indian Ocean coast, the Negev desert and the former military bases of Vietnam, the Namib desert and the east African savannah have in common a longtime human presence and the many ways people have modified nature. The studies illumine specific patterns and responses across the long-time. Most important they go beyond an overt centering of the European experience, drawing together diverse experiences when addressing critical environmental questions. The tapestry of life and the human reshaping of environments evokes both concern and hope.