US Long-Term Ecological Research Network
Global change ecology
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Predicting the whole earth environmental consequences of human activities requires research that incorporates longer time frames and larger areas of study in an international context. In the past, people influenced the envrronment on a local and regional scale. By the end of the Roman era, most forests around the Mediterranean were destroyed by human activity. However, with the Industrial Revolution our species began to alter the earth at a global level, and the rate of environmental degradation has grown at an accelerating pace since then. The intensity of human impact increases yearly as our population swells and per capita consumption continues to increase in the developing world. By the year 2000, global population is predicted to reach six billion, and eight billion by the year 2022.