New Article on the Palaeo-Anthropocene of Israel

A new article, on the Palaeo-Anthropocene Period in Israel, which was spearheaded by Oren Ackermann, along with a team of collaborators working at Tell es-Safi/Gath, has just appeared. The article (which is in Hebrew with an English abstract) appeared in the online journal The Geography Network.

The article is entitled:

Ackermann, O., Weiss, E., Zhevelev, H., Maeir, A., Frumin, S., and Horwitz, L. K.
2015. Key Points in the Paleo-Anthropocene Period in Israel: Past Human Activity as the Designer of the Present-Day Landscape (In Hebrew with English Abstract). The Geography Network 8: 61–74.

Here is the English abstract:

In 2002, Paul Crutzen coined the term Anthropocene as a human-made geological period. He asserted that it began in the 18th century CE with the Industrial Revolution, a period during which there were significant global changes including the extinction of animal and plant species, an increase in greenhouse gas emissions, and global warming. However, further studies reconstructing the ancient environmental conditions of the Holocene and Pleistocene periods show that significant environmental changes resulting from anthropogenic activities took place long before the Industrial Revolution. Accordingly, the term “Paleo-Anthropocene” came into use as the period of time between the appearance of the earliest hominima (2.5-2.8 million years BP) until the Industrial Revolution. During this time period, evidence suggests the extinction of megafauna and the onset of the agricultural revolution, leading to increasing CO2 emissions and changes in the composition of plant and animal species.
A review of key points of the Palaeo-Anthropocene record in Israel reveals ancient human imprints on the landscape. Some examples given in this study are: that approximately 50% of the slopes in the Jerusalem hills are covered with ancient agricultural terraces; destruction and siege of ancient cities caused erosion and fill processes and changes in the vegetation distribution pattern; while forest clearing and agricultural activities changed the species composition; for example, the appearance of weeds and the domestication of olive trees. The arrival of various ethnic groups resulted in the introduction of exotic flora and fauna that had not been observed previously in the region. For example, the Persians introduced Juglans regia (Persian walnut) and Citrus medica (citron) while the Philistines introduced pigs with a European genotype. Today, that pig’s genotype is typical of Israel’s wild boar population, as opposed to the local wild boar seen in other Levantine regions.
In summary, these changes show that aspects of the landscape system in Israel are anthropogenic rather than purely natural, and that changes, some of which occurred long in the past, shape today’s landscape system. The above findings might help determine management of the current landscape system in Israel, as
it is an anthropogenic one and not naturally “pristine”.

Check it out!