Itinerant agriculture and grazing they had already affected more than 40 percent of the Earth's land area 4,000 years ago. This is what a new study from the School of Human Evolution and Social Change of the Arizona State University published in the journal suggests Science.
The study also points out that continuous cultivation was common and widespread throughout most of the planet 2,000 years ago, more than 1,000 years earlier than indicated by previous studies.
To compile the data of the environmental impact of the human being in the past, the ArchaeoGLOBE project, sending a massive survey to academics whose experience covered areas around the world. A total of 255 respondents completed more than 700 regional questionnaires, which provided the information for the study.
According Nicole Boivin, director of the Department of Archeology of the Max Planck Institute for the Science of Human History and lead author of the study:
Archaeologists have critical data sets to assess long-term human impacts in the natural world, but these remain largely unexploited in terms of global assessments. This novel approach to collective contracting to group archaeological data is extremely innovative and has provided researchers with a unique perspective.
Thus, the actions of the ancient peoples that benefited or harmed biodiversity and allowed them to reside sustainably or not in an area for a prolonged period can be evaluated. The study also has implications for the Earth system models used to predict the future human environmental impact.