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Evolving the Anthropocene: linking multi-level selection with long-term social–ecological change

Ellis, E; Magliocca, N; Stevens, C; Fuller, D; (2018) Evolving the Anthropocene: linking multi-level selection with long-term social–ecological change. Sustainability Science , 13 pp. 119-128. 10.1007/s11625-017-0513-6. Green open access

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Abstract

To what degree is cultural multi-level selection responsible for the rise of environmentally transformative human behaviors? And vice versa? From the clearing of vegetation using fire to the emergence of agriculture and beyond, human societies have increasingly sustained themselves through practices that enhance environmental productivity through ecosystem engineering. At the same time, human societies have increased in scale and complexity from mobile bands of hunter-gatherers to telecoupled world systems. We propose that these long-term changes are coupled through positive feedbacks among social and environmental changes, coevolved primarily through selection acting at the group level and above, and that this can be tested by combining archeological evidence with mechanistic experiments using an agent-based virtual laboratory (ABVL) approach. A more robust understanding of whether and how cultural multi-level selection couples human social change with environmental transformation may help in addressing the long-term sustainability challenges of the Anthropocene.

Type: Article
Title: Evolving the Anthropocene: linking multi-level selection with long-term social–ecological change
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1007/s11625-017-0513-6
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11625-017-0513-6
Language: English
Additional information: © The Author(s) 2017. This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.
Keywords: Sociocultural niche construction (SNC), Agent-based modeling (ABM), Social–ecological systems (SES), The extended evolutionary synthesis (EES), Anthroecology Archaeology
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Institute of Archaeology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of S&HS > Institute of Archaeology > Institute of Archaeology Gordon Square
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10038713
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