« Article - Hunter-gatherer land management in the human break from ecological sustainability | Main | Brief film appearance »

Article -- Land Management Among Hunter-Gatherers: Questioning the Ubiquity Claims

This is my first article in some time, though the topic is one I began researching several years ago. I examine common claims concerning the pervasiveness of land management practices among hunter-gatherer societies.

It appears in Hunter/Gatherer, a student-run radical ecology journal. I’ve become frustrated in recent years with the lack of substantiation and pervasive confirmation bias in the popular media, so I chose with this paper to return to scholarly writing.

This is the first in what may be a series of two or three articles on the topic of traditional land management.

Available as a PDF:

Land Management Among Hunter-Gatherers: Questioning the Ubiquity Claims (PDF)

Alternate PDF


Evidence that our industrial society, built on agricultural subsistence, is inherently ecologically destructive underlines the value in identifying which, if any, past human subsistence approaches have been ecologically benign. The traditional land management practiced by some hunter-gatherers is touted by some as a model of ecologically benign subsistence. In this paper I examine critically several broad assertions made commonly by proponents of this set of subsistence practices. These claims portray these practices as almost ubiquitous among human societies, in their impacts across land areas, and through time. Despite having been subjected to little scrutiny, these claims have contributed to the reputation, on the part of traditional land management, for ecological benignity. By analyzing them critically we can improve our understanding of traditional land management, laying a foundation for more effective examination of direct ecological impacts and long term consequences of this subsistence approach.

PrintView Printer Friendly Version

EmailEmail Article to Friend