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Global land use

Global changes in human population and its land use (with its impacts on climate, ecosystems, biodiversity, and the functioning of the Earth’s long-term biogeochemical and biogeophysical systems) has increased over time and is now recognized as a transition into the Anthropocene. Only recently has there been a concerted effort to understand the causes and consequences of Earth’s anthropogenic transformation with the historical global mapping of human population densities, built structures and infrastructures, irrigation, crops, livestock grazing, and other patterns of human-altered vegetation cover. A first attempt to integrate global datasets into a single indicator (on a scale of 0 to 100), was The Human Footprint of 2002.[14]

In 2020, Anthromes 12K was introduced as the first global historical anthrome maps for the 12,000-year period from 10,000 BCE to 2015 CE[15] based on the latest HYDE 3.2 (History of the Global Environment, HYDE) database.[16]</sup This plots in graphic form the transition from hunter-gatherer burning land, to the emergence and spread of agriculture, accelerated during the major phase of global European colonial expansion, to the rise of large-scale urban industrial societies using the following categories of human land use (anthromes):

Dense settlements: Urban and other nonagricultural dense settlements
Villages: Densely populated agricultural settlements
Croplands: Lands used mainly for annual crops
Rangelands: Lands used for pasture and livestock grazing
Seminatural lands: Inhabited lands with minor use for permanent agriculture and settlements
Wildlands: Lands without human populations or substantial land use

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