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People and the Land through TimeLinking Ecology and History, Second Edition$
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Emily W. B. Russell Southgate

Print publication date: 2019

Print ISBN-13: 9780300225808

Published to Yale Scholarship Online: January 2020

DOI: 10.12987/yale/9780300225808.001.0001

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Harvesting Natural Resources

Harvesting Natural Resources

(p.104) 7 Harvesting Natural Resources
People and the Land through Time

Emily W. B. Russell Southgate

Yale University Press

People have always had to rely on hunting and gathering for food, fuel and shelter. The first evidence for possible major impact of these activities is the early Holocene extinction of most megafauna on all continents except Africa. Multidisciplinary historical research indicates that both climate and human impact interacted to cause these extinctions. This chapter also discusses historical records which have elucidated some of the long-term impacts of harvesting fish and other creatures of seas and estuaries on aspects such as population numbers, age structure, and species diversity of these organisms. On land, hunting has continued to affect many species. Agriculture, rather than decreasing the use of natural resources, has altered land use and increased demand so that the impact on natural resources has increased worldwide. Industrialization further accelerated this trend. Even those sites removed from active use by inclusion in preserves continue to change, in part because of a complex history of use before they were preserved. Understanding this history can help set appropriate goals for preservation as well as indications of management that may assist in evaluating changes.

Keywords:   harvest, natural resources, hunting, gathering, megafauna, fish, preserves

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