Research Spotlight: Dr. Karl W. Butzer
Ecological History and Sustainability
Posted: March 17, 2011
Professor Karl W. Butzer
Historical research based on the geosciences and archaeology offers a cross-disciplinary method to monitor long-term environmental change and to project the future effects of contemporary processes set in train by modernization and globalization. This can provide an objective assessment of land surface degradation by improvident land use, to allow a more complex understanding of current environmental problems. Detailed case studies are ideal to examine change in the context of local, ecological and social stimuli and resilience—relationships that are to some degree unique and therefore difficult to generalize. But such studies allow a pragmatic interpretation of multiple ecological histories that are critical to:
(1) formulate remedial strategies; (2) achieve more effective environmental planning; and (3) assure a sustainable future.