The concept of environmental degradation has evolved with the development of human society and settlement. In early human development, tribes went through a series of cycles of taming or developing mastery over the environment, to utilizing the resources of that environment until they could no longer support the population, which lead to moving on to do it again in a new area. There seems to have been little sense that human activity was causing any degradation, it was only that there was no longer enough food. This sense of the concept of degradation can even be seen as late as the 16th and 17th centuries in North America as Europeans "tamed" the land from the south, east, and north. For the Europeans, this taming of the "dangerous" and "inhospitable" lands even included the indigenous peoples. World-wide, as humans gathered into towns and cities, the impacts on the environment became increasingly widespread. Goods had to be brought to the people from further and further away. While agriculture and herd management were being developed, there was still the sense that these activities were improvements. It is a rather modern social understanding that human activities can and do damage and degrade natural ecosystems. The concept began to dawn when society began to understand that some activities caused degraded human health. Only recently has society begun to understand the need for generally healthy natural ecosystems and this understanding has brought with it a whole host of legal and political actions to make it happpen. ?? International Scientific Publications, New Delhi.
Additional publication details
Historical perspectives on the concept of ecosystem degradation
Larger Work Title:
International Journal of Ecology and Environmental Sciences