Anthropocene

Erle Ellis

Over the last three decades, certain environmental scientists have started characterizing a new geological epoch, the Anthropocene, to mark the moment when humans started profoundly affecting ecological landscapes.

University of Maryland, Baltimore County ecologist Erle Ellis studies how agriculture, hunting, settlements, and other human activity have changed landscapes. He estimates three-quarters of earth’s land could be characterized as anthropogenic. But even as humans influence their environment, the mass influx of residents into urban centers can reverse that process.