Special Articles

Human Domination of Earth's Ecosystems

Science  25 Jul 1997:
Vol. 277, Issue 5325, pp. 494-499
DOI: 10.1126/science.277.5325.494

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Abstract

Human alteration of Earth is substantial and growing. Between one-third and one-half of the land surface has been transformed by human action; the carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere has increased by nearly 30 percent since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution; more atmospheric nitrogen is fixed by humanity than by all natural terrestrial sources combined; more than half of all accessible surface fresh water is put to use by humanity; and about one-quarter of the bird species on Earth have been driven to extinction. By these and other standards, it is clear that we live on a human-dominated planet.

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