Erle Ellis

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Erle Christopher Ellis (born 11 March 1963 in Washington, DC) is an American environmental scientist. Ellis's work investigates the causes and consequences of long-term ecological changes caused by humans at local to global scales, including those related to the Anthropocene. As of 2015 he is a professor of Geography and Environmental Systems at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County where he directs the Laboratory for Anthroecology.

Education and Career[edit]

Ellis received an A.B. in Biology in 1986 and a Ph.D. in Plant Biology from Cornell University in 1990 with Roger Spanswick. After receiving his Ph.D., Ellis taught English at Nanjing Agricultural University in 1990/1991, and returned to China to study nitrogen cycling in China's village landscapes from 1993-1996.[1][2] From 1996 to 2000, he worked with Stephen Gliessman at the University of California, Santa Cruz. In 2000 he was hired as an assistant professor in the department of Geography and Environmental Systems of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County; he was promoted to professor in 2015. He is a fellow of the Global Land Programme (Scientific Steering Committee 2012-2017) of Future Earth and the Anthropocene Working Group of the International Commission on Stratigraphy, a Senior Fellow at the Breakthrough Institute (and coauthor of the Ecomodernist Manifesto), and an advisor to the Nature Needs Half movement. He has taught ecology as a visiting professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Design (2013-2015) and was a visiting professor at the Carnegie Institution's Department of Global Ecology (2006/2007).


Ellis' research has explored long-term ecological changes in China's villages,[1][2][3] and in 2008, he produced the first global map of anthropogenic biomes (and coined the term "anthrome") together with Navin Ramankutty.[4][5][6] In 2019, he helped to lead a massive collaboration of archaeologists to map land use changes around the world over the past 10,000 years.[7]

Ellis has published more than 100 scientific articles relating to global and local ecological changes caused by humans,[8] and is a Global Highly Cited Researcher (Cross-Field, 2018, 2019, 2020). He has also written a number of articles and opinions communicating his work and other matters relating to humans as agents of ecological change, at Science,[9] Nature,[10] New Scientist,[11][12] The New York Times,[13][14] Breakthrough Journal,[15][16] and other venues. His first book, Anthropocene: A Very Short Introduction,[17] was published in 2018.



  1. ^ a b Mervis, Jeff (1995). "Field research also needs the human touch". Science. 270 (5239): 1145. doi:10.1126/science.270.5239.1145. S2CID 129371454.
  2. ^ a b Ellis, Erle; Wang, Si Ming (1997). "Sustainable traditional agriculture in the Tai Lake Region of China". Agriculture, Ecosystems & Environment. 61 (2–3): 177–193. doi:10.1016/S0167-8809(96)01099-7. S2CID 85270811.
  3. ^ Ellis, Erle; Neerchal, Nagaraj; Peng, Kui; Xiao, Hong Sheng; Wang, Hongqing; Yan, Zhuang; Li, Shou Cheng; Wu, Jun Xi; Jiao, Jia Guo; Ouyang, Hua; Cheng, Xu; Yang, Lin Zhang (2009). "Estimating long-term changes in China's village landscapes". Ecosystems. 12 (2): 279–297. CiteSeerX doi:10.1007/s10021-008-9222-4. S2CID 23726932.
  4. ^ Ellis, Erle; Ramankutty, Navin (2008). "Putting people in the map: anthropogenic biomes of the world". Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment. 6 (8): 439–447. doi:10.1890/070062.
  5. ^ Madrigal, Alexis (2007). "Mapping the Humanized World". Wired.
  6. ^ Holden, Constance (2007). "Humankind's global footprint". Science. 318 (5858): 1839. doi:10.1126/science.318.5858.1839c. S2CID 220093764.
  7. ^ Ellis, Erle; Goldewijk, Kees Klein; Gaillard, Marie-José; Kaplan, Jed O.; Thornton, Alexa; Powell, Jeremy; Garcia, Santiago Munevar; Beaudoin, Ella; Zerboni, Andrea (2019-08-30). "Archaeological assessment reveals Earth's early transformation through land use". Science. 365 (6456): 897–902. Bibcode:2019Sci...365..897S. doi:10.1126/science.aax1192. hdl:10150/634688. ISSN 0036-8075. PMID 31467217. S2CID 201674203.
  8. ^ Google Scholar Report
  9. ^ Ellis, Erle C. (2019-06-28). "Sharing the land between nature and people". Science. 364 (6447): 1226–1228. Bibcode:2019Sci...364.1226E. doi:10.1126/science.aax2608. ISSN 0036-8075. PMID 31249042.
  10. ^ Ellis, Erle; Maslin, Mark; Boivin, Nicole; Bauer, Andrew (2016). "Involve social scientists in defining the Anthropocene". Nature. 540 (7632): 192–193. doi:10.1038/540192a.
  11. ^ Ellis, Erle (March 9, 2013). "Time to forget global tipping points". NewScientist. No. 2907.
  12. ^ Ellis, Erle (June 14, 2011). "Forget Mother Nature: This is a World of Our Making". NewScientist. No. 2816.
  13. ^ Ellis, Erle (September 13, 2013). "Overpopulation Is Not the Problem". The New York Times.
  14. ^ Ellis, Erle (August 11, 2018). "Opinion | Science Alone Won't Save the Earth. People Have to Do That". The New York Times. Retrieved 2018-08-16.
  15. ^ Ellis, Erle (2017). "Nature for the People: Toward A Democratic Vision for the Biosphere". Breakthrough Journal (7): 15–25.
  16. ^ Ellis, Erle (2011). "The Planet of No Return: Human Resilience on an Artificial Earth". Breakthrough Journal (2): 39–44.
  17. ^ Ellis, Erle (2018). Anthropocene: A Very Short Introduction. Vol. 1. Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/actrade/9780198792987.001.0001. ISBN 9780198792987.

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