Man's Role in Changing the Face of the Earth
edited by William L. Thomas
University of Chicago Press, 1956
Cloth: 978-0-226-79603-1

This book presents a large-scale multidisciplinary evaluation of what has happened and is happening to the earth under man's impress. It includes the papers presented by fifty-three eminent scholars at a major conference on ecology—one of the first ever held—sponsored by the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research. A pioneering publication in the field of environmental research, the work has steadily contributed to ecological studies, and is now considered a classic.

The volume is organized into three parts. Part 1 deals with man's rise to the status of ecological dominance, and includes discussions of such topics as the role of fire as the first great force harnessed by man, early food-producing populations, the clearing of Europe's woodlands, subsistence economies and commercial economies, and the natural history of urbanization.

Part 2 investigates environmental changes such as man's impact upon the seas and coastlines. The highly topical ecology of wastes is discussed, as well as urban-industrial demands and the depletion of natural resources.

Part 3 is concerned with the limits of the earth's resources. It includes papers dealing with the population spiral, possible limitations of raw-material consumption and energy use, and technological denudation.

Each part is accompanied by a report summarizing the ideas discussed at the conference by the participants.

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