Anthropogenic biomes, also known as anthromes or human biomes, describe the terrestrial biosphere in its contemporary, human-altered form using global ecosystem units defined by global patterns of sustained direct human interaction with ecosystems.
For more than a century, the biosphere has been described in terms of global ecosystem units called biomes, which are vegetation types like tropical rainforests and grasslands that are identified in relation to global climate patterns. Taking into account the fact that human populations and their use of land have fundamentally altered global patterns of ecosystem form, process, and biodiversity, anthropogenic biomes provide a framework for integrating human systems with the biosphere in the Anthropocene.
Anthromes include dense settlements (urban and mixed settlements), villages, croplands, rangelands and seminatural lands and have been mapped globally using two different classification systems, viewable on Google Maps and Google Earth:
- Alessa, L. and F. S. Chapin, III. 2008. Anthropogenic biomes: a key contribution to earth-system science. Trends in Ecology & Evolution 23:529-531. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.tree.2008.07.002
- Ellis, E. C. and N. Ramankutty. 2008. Putting people in the map: anthropogenic biomes of the world. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 6:439-447 http://dx.doi.org/10.1890/070062 link
- Ellis, E. C., K. Klein Goldewijk, S. Siebert, D. Lightman, and N. Ramankutty. 2010. Anthropogenic transformation of the biomes, 1700 to 2000. Global Ecology and Biogeography. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1466-8238.2010.00540.x
- Biomes to Anthromes : Wiley Geo Hot Topics
- Anthropogenic Biomes at Encyclopedia of Earth
- Anthropogenic Biomes project web site (with downloadable data)
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