Review: The Human Impact

Goudie, Andrew S.  2009.  (Fifth edition)  The human impact on the natural environment:  Past, present, and future.  John Wiley & Sons, New York.  376 p.

Human impacts are often subtle and complex.  They easily escape our notice as they make small cumulative changes in the environment.  Only by intensive analysis of the chemistry and spatiotemporal dynamics of particles, forces, and flows can some be detected.  But as human population and land use have grown, so has the visibility of the impacts.

In this book, British geographer Andrew Goudie gives well-illustrated discussions of many types of human impacts.  With examples drawn from hundreds of studies, Professor Goudie summarizes a broad selection of previous research.  Though the environmental changes he describes often seem to be a result of human activity, determining causes is difficult or impossible with the present information.

Following an introduction to the development of human attitudes toward nature, Goudie presents chapters on vegetation, animals, soil, water, geomorphology, and climate.  The book ends with a discussion of the current opinions on human influence on environmental change.

When The Human Impact was first published in 1981, one reviewer, Paul Ward English, said, “this is an unusually fine book.”  I agree.

Buy the book at the Naturalist’s Bookstore.  Search the ‘Human Impacts’ category.

One thought on “Review: The Human Impact

  1. Pingback: Take Action to Save Habitat: #Conservation Lands | The Blog Farm


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