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Erle C. Ellis


Ph.D., Cornell University, 1990
211 Sondheim Hall
410-455-2002 | @erleellis
twitter: @erleellis
google scholar:


Research Interests

Landscape Ecology, Global Change, Sustainable Landscape Management, Anthropocene

Research Focus

My research investigates the ecology of human-managed ecosystems at local and global scales towards the goal of informing sustainable stewardship of the biosphere in the Anthropocene.

Recent projects

• Anthroecology: A new paradigm for ecology in an anthropogenic biosphere
• GLOBE: Online tools for global synthesis of local knowledge
Ecosynth: Inexpensive tools for scanning landscapes in 3D
• Anthromes (anthropogenic biomes): global analysis of human/ecosystem interactions
• Anthropogenic Ecotope Mapping: High-resolution ecological mapping of anthropogenic landscapes
Measuring long-term changes in land use and biogeochemistry across rural China

Selected Publications

Full list & PDF downloads:

BOOK: Ellis, Erle C. 2018. Anthropocene: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford University Press (UK release March 2018, US release May 2018). Part of OUP’s Very Short Introduction Series. [Buy at]

Ellis, E. C. 2019. Sharing the land between nature and people. Science 364:1226-1228.

Ellis, E., M. Maslin, N. Boivin, and A. Bauer. 2016. Involve social scientists in defining the Anthropocene. Nature 540:192–193.

Ellis, E.C. 2015. Ecology in an Anthropogenic Biosphere. Ecological Monographs 85(3):287–331

Ellis, E. C., J. O. Kaplan, D. Q. Fuller, S. Vavrus, K. Klein Goldewijk, and P. H. Verburg. 2013. Used Planet: A Global History. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences 110(20):7978-7985.

Dandois, J. P. and E. C. Ellis. 2013. High spatial resolution three-dimensional mapping of vegetation spectral dynamics using computer vision. Remote Sensing of Environment 136:259-276.

Ellis, E. C., E. C. Antill, and H. Kreft. 2012. All is not loss: plant biodiversity in the Anthropocene. PLoS ONE 7:e30535.

Ellis, E. C. 2011 Anthropogenic transformation of the terrestrial biosphere. Proceedings of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Science 369(1938):1010-1035.

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 19(5):589-606.

Ellis, E. C. and P. K. Haff. 2009. Earth Science in the Anthropocene: New Epoch, New Paradigm, New Responsibilities. EOS Transactions 90(49):473

Ellis, E. C., N. Neerchal, K. Peng, H. S. Xiao, H. Wang, Z. Yan, S. C. Li, J. X. Wu, J. G. Jiao, H. Ouyang, X. Cheng, and L. Z. Yang. 2009. Estimating long-term changes in China’s village landscapes. Ecosystems 12 (2):279-297

Ellis, E. C., and N. Ramankutty. 2008. Putting people in the map: anthropogenic biomes of the world. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 6(8):439-447.

Selected Recent Presentations

Complete list & downloads

E.C. Ellis. 2015. The Emergence of Land Use as a Global Force in the Earth System. American Geophysical Union Fall 2015 Meeting, December 14 to 18, 2015, San Francisco, CA, USA.

Ellis, E.C., 2015. Towards a Global Archaeology of the Anthropocene. Anthropocene Working Group meeting, McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research at Cambridge University. November 24-25, 2015, Cambridge, UK.

Ellis, E.C., 2015. Ecology in a Human Biosphere. Glassman Lecture, FridayEvening Lecture Series, Marine Biological Laboratory. August 14,
2015, Woods Hole, MA, USA. [Video]

Ellis, E.C., 2014. Anthropocene Ecology: The Cultural Construction of Nature. UNESCO Bergen 2014: UNESCO 1972, 2003 and 2005 Conventions, March 24-26, 2014, Bergen, Norway.

Ellis, E.C., 2014. Used Land, Used Planet: The Ancient History of the Anthropocene. Global Land Project Open Science Meeting: Land Transformations: Between Global Challenges and Local Realities, March 19-21, 2014, Berlin, Germany.

Ellis, E. C. 2014. Evolution of Human Niche Construction: Human Ecologies from Late Pleistocene to Present. Cell Symposium: Evolution of Modern Humans – From Bones to Genomes, March 16-18, 2014, Sitges, Spain. 

Ellis, E.C., 2014. Ecologies of the Anthropocene: Global Upscaling of Social-Ecological Infrastructures. Projective Views on Urban Metabolism Conference. Harvard Graduate School of Design. February 7, 2014, Cambridge, MA, USA.

Ellis, E.C., 2012. Agriculture in the Anthopocene: Growing a Sustainable Human Ecology. Pesek Colloquium on Sustainable Agriculture. Iowa State University, October 29, 2012, Ames, Iowa USA.

Ellis, E.C., 2012. Ecology in the Anthropocene: Observing, Understanding, and Embracing Human Nature. The Long Term Ecological Research Network All Scientists Meeting, September 10- 13, 2012, Estes Park, CO, USA.

Ellis, E.C., 2011.  Anthropogenic Biomes and Conservation beyond Protected Areas. Biodiversity Institute Symposium – Biodiversity Conservation Beyond Protected Areas, September 21-22, 2011, Oxford, UK

Ellis, E. C., 2011. Emergence and Sustainability of the Anthropogenic Biosphere. Anthropocene Conference, The Geological Society of London, May 11, 2011, London, UK.

Courses Taught

GES 120: Environmental Science & Conservation
GES 305: Landscape Ecology
GES 405/605: Applied Landscape Ecology
GES 412/612: Biogeochemical Cycles in the Global Environment
GES: 485/685: Field Methods in Geography: Environmental Mapping

As Visiting Professor of Landscape Architecture, Harvard Graduate School of Design
GSD 6241: Ecologies, Techniques, Technologies III