Global historical reconstructions of human transformation and use of landscapes confirms that most of terrestrial nature as we know it, including Earth’s most biodiverse landscapes, are cultural legacies of centuries to millennia of sustained human use. Efforts to build a better future for people and the nature begin by recognizing that cultural natures, including those sustained by indigenous peoples for millennia, not natures without people, are the greatest planetary opportunities for recovering and sustaining Earth’s biodiversity in the Anthropocene. Even the most intensively used working landscapes on Earth, including cities and farms, are central to a nature positive future.
Erle Ellis is Professor of Geography and Environmental Systems at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC). A global Highly Cited Researcher, his work investigates the ecology of human landscapes to inform sustainable stewardship of the biosphere. He teaches environmental science and landscape ecology at UMBC and has taught landscape ecology at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design. He is a Lead Author of the IPBES Transformative Change Assessment, a founding member of the Anthropocene Working Group of the ICS, Fellow of the Global Land Programme and Senior Fellow of the Breakthrough Institute. His book, Anthropocene: A Very Short Introduction, was published in 2018.
The Leverhulme Centre for Nature Recovery and Biodiversity Network are interested in promoting a wide variety of views and opinions on nature recovery from researchers and practitioners.
The views, opinions and positions expressed within this lecture are those of the author alone, they do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of the Leverhulme Centre for Nature Recovery/Biodiversity Network, or its researchers.