Human Adaptability: An Introduction to Ecological Anthropology / Edition 3

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Designed to help students understand the multiple levels at which human populations respond to their surroundings, this essential text offers the most complete discussion of environmental, physiological, behavioral, and cultural adaptive strategies available. Among the unique features that make Human Adaptability outstanding as both a textbook for students and a reference book for professionals are a complete discussion of the development of ecological anthropology and relevant research methods; the use of an ecosystem approach with emphasis on arctic, high altitude, arid land, grassland, and tropical rain forest environments; an extensive bibliography on ecological anthropology; and a comprehensive glossary of technical terms. Entirely new to the third edition are chapters on urban sustainability and methods of spatial analysis, with enhanced emphasis throughout on the role of gender in human-adaptability research and on global environmental issues as they affect particular ecosystems. In addition, brand-new sections in each chapter guide students to websites that provide access to relevant material, complement the text’s coverage of biomes, and suggest ways to become active in environmental issues.

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Editorial Reviews

Details nongenetic strategies of human adaptation to a variety of ecosystems, discussing environmental, physiological, behavioral, and cultural adaptive strategies. Offers a complete discussion of the development of ecological anthropology and relevant research methods, and uses an ecosystem approach with emphasis on arctic, high altitude, and rainforest environments. The bibliography lists 1,100 classic and recent references. This second edition addresses the impact of political economy and the uses of remote sensing in the study of human ecology. Moran teaches anthropology at Indiana University, where he directs the Anthropological Center for Training and Research on Global Environmental Change. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780813343679
  • Publisher: Westview Press
  • Publication date: 12/31/2007
  • Edition description: Third Edition
  • Edition number: 3
  • Pages: 496
  • Sales rank: 1,498,380
  • Product dimensions: 5.90 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.70 (d)

Meet the Author

Emilio F. Moran is James H. Rudy Professor of Anthropology; director of the Anthropological Center for Training and Research on Global Environmental Change; and co-director of the Center for the Study of Institutions, Population, and Environmental Change at Indiana University. Professor Moran was the first anthropologist to be awarded the Robert McC Netting Award (2002) by the Cultural Ecology Specialty Group of the Association of American Geographers.

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations xi
Preface to the Second Edition xv
List of Acronyms xxv
Part 1 Ecological Anthropology: History, Theory, and Method
1 People in Ecosystems 3
Human Adaptability as a Response to Constraints 5
Modeling 10
Energy 13
Matter 16
Information 19
Ecosystems and Global Change 20
Summary 22
Recommended Readings 23
Notes 25
2 Theories of Human-Habitat Interaction up to the 1950s 27
Environmental Determinism 28
Human Adaptation to Environment 32
Nature as Limiting Factor: Malthus and Possibilism 38
Summary 43
Recommended Readings 44
Notes 45
3 From Cultural Ecology to Environmental Anthropology 47
Steward's Cultural Ecology 47
Applications of the Cultural Ecological Method 50
The Approach of Ecological Anthropology 58
The Ethnoecological Approach 63
Human Dimensions of Global Environmental Change 64
Historical Ecology 68
Political Ecology 69
Summary 70
Recommended Readings 72
Notes 73
4 Fundamental Concepts and Methods 75
The Challenge of Scale and Levels of Analysis 75
Ecosystemic Relationships 78
Soils and Plant Productivity 86
Physiological Responses 91
Social/Cultural Regulatory Adjustments 99
Information and Decisions: Toward Actor-Based Approaches 102
Summary 106
Recommended Readings 108
Notes 110
Part 2 Studies of Human Adaptability
5 Human Adaptability to Arctic Zones 113
The Arctic Ecosystem 114
Adaptation to Cold Stress 119
Coping with Snow and Sea Ice 126
Adaptation to Prolonged Light and Darkness 128
Coping with Low Biological Productivity 132
Impacts of Global Change in the Arctic 137
Summary 143
Recommended Readings 145
Notes 147
6 Human Adaptability to High Altitudes 149
Mountain Ecosystems 150
Adaptation to Hypoxia 155
Adaptability to Cold Stress in the Andes 165
Aridity and Low Productivity 169
Climate Change and High-Altitude Ecosystems 175
Summary 176
Recommended Readings 177
Notes 179
7 Human Adaptability to Arid Lands 181
Desert Ecosystems 182
Adjustments to Dry Heat 187
Utilization of Resources 192
Irrigation 200
Change in Desert Ecosystems 212
Summary 214
Recommended Readings 216
8 Human Adaptability to Grasslands 219
Grasslands Ecosystems 221
Herd Management 229
Relations with Cultivators 242
Adaptive Strategies in the Northern Plains 243
Global Change and the Future of Grasslands and Pastoralism 251
Summary 252
Recommended Readings 255
9 Human Adaptability to the Humid Tropics 259
Tropical Rain Forest Ecosystems 261
Coping with Ecosystem Complexity 269
Adaptability to Humid Heat 292
Global Change Processes and Alternatives to Deforestation 293
Summary 300
Recommended Readings 301
Notes 303
Part 3 New Directions
10 New Directions in Environmental Anthropology 307
Human Adaptability to Global Environmental Change 307
The Use of Remote Sensing in Anthropology 309
Urban Ecology 321
Experimental Approaches in Environmental Anthropology 325
Common Property Resources and the Study of Institutions 328
Political Economy and Human Adaptability 330
Notes 332
Epilogue 333
Glossary 339
Bibliography 357
Index 431
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