Ecological History of Agriculture, 10,000 BC-AD 10,000

Available Formats for this title


About this title

Purdue University Press
Professional & Scholarly


An Ecological History of Agriculture, 10,000 B.C.-A.D. 10,000 opens with the first known agriculture and ends in a future in which we might have to use fewer resources to feed more people. The book describes past and present agriculture and looks at future possibilities.


Using environment, population, and available energy sources as the principal determinants of agricultural systems, this is the first survey to cover preindustrial agriculture and pastoralism on all inhabited continents and from equatorial forest to tundra. The tropics present a tapestry: slash-and-burn in the forests, multistoried gardens of trees and annuals, combinations of cultivation and nomadic pastoralism, and a variety of "wet" systems on land that is part field and part swamp. The parallels among dry lands and dry summer lands are striking; peoples thousands of miles apart evolve like means to divert, deliver, and conserve water. In humid temperate climes there is more divergence than convergence; East Asians, Europeans, and American Indians find very different ways to exploit similar environments.


An Ecological History of Agriculture, 10,000 B.C.-A.D. 10,000 will be of special interest to agriculturalists, agricultural historians, anthropologists, geographers, and anyone concerned with agriculture and its history.