Anthropology, Department of



Andi O. Kraft

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Published in Nebraska Anthropologist Vol. 17 (2001-2002). Copyright © Andi O. Kraft; published by The University of Nebraska-Lincoln AnthroGroup.


Anthropogenic landscapes are those that have been modified, to varying degrees, by human. Their development is affected by the over-use of natural landscapes in the past such as overgrazing, frequent fires, or excessive depletion of forests. Anthropologists analyzing land-use intensification are now realizing the promise of geographical information systems (GIS) and remote sensingfor their research. A literature review of case studies done on varying anthropogenic landscapes will highlight how GIS can give practical integration of geographic spatial structures (habitation, soils, river drainage) to past and current relationships between the environment and human systems when combined with local-level knowledge. Research of this kind also requires a culturally specific temporal and spatial perspective applied to a regional scale. Three case studies are presented, featuring present-day landscapes that are followed at a regional level. The rate of human disturbance and types of anthropogenic modifications from small scale grazing to large-scale mining by corporations are seen in the reviewed case studies involving Russia, Nepal and Botswana.

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