Historic ecology is a theoretical framework of theories and practices for understanding the relationship among humanity and the environment at large. It provides tools for constructing an open-ended, evidence-supported, narrative of how the evolution and development of specific environments, over time, have affected the human experience.
Humans are part of a living Earth, and each human species exists within its own habitat, in a community of species. The environment is a complex system comprised of many interacting systems such as soil, air, water, plants, animals, and humans. Although humans have shaped the environment in some ways, such as by altering or removing species, humans cannot exist in a vacuum, and the effects of human activities on the environment are also an ongoing process. This theory suggests that humans interact with the environment in various ways and in different ways than other animals. Human activity shapes the environment, and the interaction results in a change in the environment, which may be reflected in the patterns of development and life-history in the environment, on the development and extinction of species, on the evolution of communities, on the change in the physical environment and the human experience, on the social structure and culture of humanity, and on the interaction among human beings in communities, societies, and civilizations.
Historic ecology makes use of several key ecological concepts and practices to study the interaction between humans and the Earth’s ecosystems. Ecological principles are used as fundamental concepts and to explain the process of ecological change. These include: ecological niche modeling, ecological niche construction, and ecological niche construction theory. Ecological niche modeling is used to describe the relationships between the traits of a particular species in a community. Niche construction theory is used to analyze the relationships between the traits of species in a community and the ecological processes that affect those traits. The ecological niche construction is based on the assumption that the physical and genetic structure of an individual species is determined by its place in an ecological niche. This is contrasted with the more commonly used ecological niche constructionism.
The theory of ecosystems is used to describe the relationships between humans and the environment, including the human role in the ecosystem. There are three primary ecosystems, and the theory of ecosystems is used to describe their relationships. The first is the ecosystem dominated by humans, the second is the ecosystem dominated by nature and the third is the ecosystem dominated by both nature and humans.
There are many forms of human interactions with the environment, ranging from direct human activity, to indirect and sub-cultural human activities. such as trade, tourism, hunting, and collecting. to non-human indirect activities, like pollution and harvesting, land clearing and destruction, agriculture, and energy consumption. These activities create and influence the environment, which may be reflected in the patterns of development and life-history in the environment, in the behavior and ecology of people, and in the behavior and physiology of ecosystems. Human activities also influence the evolution of ecosystems through natural selection processes, and in the form of cultural practices and social organization that shape and control the human experience within an environment.
History, science, philosophy, anthropology, and ecology all are using as tools to construct a historical ecology, and each of these disciplines may be used to study an aspect of the human experience in the environment. The study of history is the most comprehensive method, as it includes aspects of all of these disciplines. Theories of historic ecology include the study of all aspects of human history, including environmental change, social change, economic development, and human behaviors, and the impact of climate change on human society. All of these aspects are important factors in understanding the human experience in the environment and determining how human societies are affected by the environment. Theories of historic ecology also allow the theories to be applied to the study of other cultures and civilizations in different environments, such as the ancient cultures of Africa, Asia, and South America, as well as modern day societies.