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ANTHROPOGENIC ENVIRONMENTAL CHANGE Anthropogenic means created by human activity Only built environments are truly anthropogenic, but many (some would argue most) terrestrial habitats, and increasingly marine ones as well, are strongly modified by human activity over time, and these frequently labeled anthropogenic (Balée 2006; Denevan 1992) Many different forms of anthropogenic environmental change, but in pre-industrial societies the most obvious ones include regular burning (of grasslands or forest understory), forest clearing, irrigation, terracing, and fertilizing Anthropogenic effects can be intentional (e.g., clearing a patch of forest to plant a garden) or unintentional (e.g., digging up edible plants aerates the soil, increasing future growth) From an ecological point of view, such anthropogenic impacts are just another form of disturbance The pervasiveness of anthropogenic habitat modification is such that humans (even pre-industrial ones) can be considered "ecosystem engineers" that have had a dominant role in shaping many environments for thousands of years Anthropogenic disturbances are often the result of attempts to maintain or increase
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