‘Ours is an age in which ecological thinking and methods have more than ever before to contribute to the progress of mankind’ A. H. Bunting & V. C. Wynne‐Edwards (1964), Journal of Applied Ecology , 1, pp. 1–2. Over geological time‐scales, whole millennia can disappear easily into a few irresolvable millimetres of the sedimentary record. This is not the case where change is rapid, however, as demonstrated by clear fossil evidence of mass extinction at the beginning and end of the Mesozoic era. As we now know, the last two millennia have also been of major significance to ecology in general, and to the application of ecology in particular. When the second millennium began, large parts of the world were still under semi‐natural vegetation. The first Homo sapiens had only just set foot on Madagascar (500 ad ) and New Zealand (≈ 700–800 ad ), while our global population was somewhere in the range of just 200–500 million ( Goudie 1993 ). In Europe, the Dark Ages were ending, but dramatic ecological change was about to follow important new technologies: the horse collar, the stirrup, the wheeled plough, the windmill, the water wheel, and the jointed‐flail axe. Released
Journal of Applied Ecology – Wiley
Published: Feb 1, 2000
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