Human Ecology comes in various guises and is addressed at very different levels; from the narrow focus ofhuman household economics to the global issue ofhumans as the agencies of unconcerned and irresponsible consu- tion oflandscapes and resources. Yet,Human Ecology comprises what it says: the study ofhuman populations and their interrelationships with the char- teristics and properties of their environment. But this is where the analogy with general ecology stops. Human interaction with their habitats is almost entirely shaped by their cultural characteristics. Culture,this complex entity of technological inventiveness,social institutions,belief systems and idios- cratic identities, is an integral part of the human condition and forms a unique amalgamation with our evolutionary biological and behavioural h- itage. Human Ecology,therefore,has to integrate both aspects into a study of biocultural adaptations of human communities. This is an almost all-enc- passing,gargantuan brief that needs to be broken down into comprehensible units. The attempt presented here takes its starting point from a very basic area oflife-support strategies: the procurement offood and other resources. The topics explored in this book are therefore both immediately and indirectly connected to resources: subsistence strategies,subsistence changes, resource allocations, population dynamics and reproduction.
Identifies culture as a key ecological variable in human ecosystems.