Review

Domesticated Nature: Shaping Landscapes and Ecosystems for Human Welfare

Science  29 Jun 2007:
Vol. 316, Issue 5833, pp. 1866-1869
DOI: 10.1126/science.1140170

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Abstract

Like all species, humans have exercised their impulse to perpetuate and propagate themselves. In doing so, we have domesticated landscapes and ecosystems in ways that enhance our food supplies, reduce exposure to predators and natural dangers, and promote commerce. On average, the net benefits to humankind of domesticated nature have been positive. We have, of course, made mistakes, causing unforeseen changes in ecosystem attributes, while leaving few, if any, truly wild places on Earth. Going into the future, scientists can help humanity to domesticate nature more wisely by quantifying the tradeoffs among ecosystem services, such as how increasing the provision of one service may decrease ecosystem resilience and the provision of other services.

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