Human Ecology: The Story of Our Place in Nature from Prehistory to the Present

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9780202020266: Human Ecology: The Story of Our Place in Nature from Prehistory to the Present

This new edition of a widely adopted primary and supplementary text explores human adaptations to environments over time. It is biologically and culturally sophisticated, drawing on an impressive array of archaeological and paleontological research. Campbell proceeds from earlier, simpler biomes to later, more complex ones, examining selected aspects of the prehistory and history of the human species. Human Ecology offers a succinct introduction to the history of these adaptations within ecosystems: a shared concern among anthropologists, biologists, environmentalists, and the general reader.

In the years since this book was first published, the problems that the human species has faced have become more serious. As predicted, world population has rapidly increased, and with it starvation, malnutrition, and disease. Our precious environment is being devastated. In particular, the tropical rain forests, our richest resource, are being cut and burned at an alarming rate with the accompanying degradation of the forest soils. Their flora and fauna, including their human inhabitants, are being destroyed. All this is being done for short-term financial gain without any long-term planning or understanding of the risks involved.

There are no simple and humane short-term solutions to the central problem of increasing population pressure. In the long-term, the only hope of making possible a life of quality for all, rather than a life of starvation and squalor, is through education. It is essential that we understand the limits that exist to the earth's productivity and the overriding importance of maintaining richly diversified fauna and flora. If we understand how we arrived at this life-threatening situation, the resolution will become clear. Non-violent and viable solutions do exist and can be implemented, but the human race first must understand and face up to the nature of its frightening predicament.

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About the Author:

Bernard G. Campbell was professor of anthropology at the University of California, Los Angeles. Born in Weybridge, England, he received his PhD from the University of Cambridge in 1957, and has been a lecturer in anthropology at Cambridge and Harvard universities. Among his many contributions to the field of anthropology are Human Evolution: An Introduction to Man’s Adaptations andSexual Selection and the Descent of Man.

Review:

“Human Ecology is intended for the general reader, but should also be of interest to the professional. The subject is broad, but the book is thorough.... Almost two hundred years ago, Malthus proffered that food production likely could not keep pace with a growing population. This problem is not new, it is no exciting, but it is urgent, and Campbell’s account is insightful.”

—Brendan Bingham, The Quarterly Review of Biology

 “[A] readable and stimulating introduction for school leavers and first-year undergraduates.”

—K. M. Homewood, Man

“[T]he book has potential uses in courses on environmental studies, since it fills a gap in current coverage in those courses, and is consistent with them in its view of the ecological crisis.”

—Emilio F. Moran, American Ethnologist

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Bernard Grant Campbell
Published by Aldine De Gruyter (1985)
ISBN 10: 0202020266 ISBN 13: 9780202020266
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Bernard Grant Campbell
Published by Aldine De Gruyter (1985)
ISBN 10: 0202020266 ISBN 13: 9780202020266
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