Anthropological Contributions to Historical Ecology: 

50 Questions, Infinite Prospects

Is biodiversity a reflection of past and ongoing human activity? What non-domesticated plant species are markers of human activity? How can we use technology to visualize and communicate time? Is the Anthropocene the age of humanity or the age of capital?


These are just a few of the questions that were selected for a crow-sourced and open consensus process to document 50 priority research questions for in the field of Historical Ecology.


At the first meeting at Uppsala University in 2014 we began an open, inclusive and consensus driven process to move towards 50 Questions for Historical Ecology. We have since condensed over 300 research questions from a year-long global survey. At the 2nd International Historical Ecology meeting at Simon Fraser University in 2015 we edited the 300+ questions to 50 and our contribution is now available in the Open Access journal PLOS ONE.

As the co-founder of the New International Community for Historical Ecology (NICHE) network with Anna Shoemaker (Uppsala University) and with help from Oliver Boles (University College London), Alex McAlvay (Cornell University), Nik Petek (Uppsala University) and Kevin Gibbons (University of Maryland), our goal was to assist this project with the most transparency and accountability in order to facilitate emerging applied research. The basis for this project is to encourage our colleagues (and our own research) to have applications towards a more socially and environmentally just world.