Seeing the Forest and the Trees

Seeing the Forest and the Trees

Human-Environment Interactions in Forest Ecosystems

Edited by Emilio F. Moran and Elinor Ostrom





Throughout much of human history, changes to forest ecosystems have come about through natural climatic changes occurring over long periods of time. But scientists now find changes in forest cover dramatically accelerated by such human activities as large-scale agriculture, the building of dams and roads, and the growth of cities with vast areas of asphalt. Changes that once took centuries now take only decades. Seeing the Forest and the Trees examines changes in land cover and land use in forested regions as major contributors to global environmental change. It investigates why some forested areas thrive even in the presence of high human densities and activity while others decline and disappear. The book brings together findings from an ongoing, large-scale, multidisciplinary research project undertaken by anthropologists, geographers, economists, sociologists, political scientists, environmental scientists, and biologists in more than twelve countries at over eighty locations. After addressing theory and methodology, including chapters on satellite remote sensing, geographic information systems, and modeling of land-cover change, the book presents case studies that compare data across sites and across temporal and spatial scales. It contributes to Human Dimensions in Global Change research and proposes new directions for this area of study.


Out of Print ISBN: 9780262134538 504 pp. | 7 in x 9 in 59 black and white, 8 color illus.


$37.00 X ISBN: 9780262633123 504 pp. | 7 in x 9 in 59 black and white, 8 color illus.


Emilio F. Moran

Emilio F. Moran is Rudy Professor of Anthropology, Professor of Environmental Sciences, Director of the Anthropological Center for Training and Research on Global Environmental Change and Adjunct Professor of Geography at Indiana University. He is Codirector of the Center for the Study of Institutions, Population, and Environmental Change.

Elinor Ostrom

Elinor Ostrom is Arthur F. Bentley Professor of Political Science, Codirector of the Workshop in Political Theory and Policy Analysis at Indiana University, and Codirector of the Center for the Study of Institutions, Population, and Environmental Change (CIPEC) at Indiana University.Ostrom was awarded the 2009 Nobel Prize in Economic Sciences.


  • Human-environment theories, comparative analyses of case studies, and remote sensing and GIS methods form the three pillars of this book. It advances our understanding of interactions among people, forests, and institutions - a comprehensive journey into high quality land use research.

    Eric Lambin

    Department of Geography and Land-Use and Land-Cover Change Project, University of Louvain, Belgium

  • Over the past several years the CIPEC group at Indiana University has developed a uniquely powerful and integrated approach to the study of human-environment interactions. This book brings all of this together in a single, accessible volume, from work on the theory of institutional and individual behavior to the methods of remote sensing and GIS to case studies and their generalization. This book will be essential reading for anyone interested in cutting-edge research on the worldwide processes of land use change, deforestation, and forest fragmentation.

    Michael F. Goodchild

    Professor of Geography, University of California

  • This book is a blockbuster for those interested in coupled human-environment systems. It demonstrates beyond a shadow of a doubt that social scientists are able to hold up their end in research on the dynamics of these complex systems.

    Oran R. Young

    Bren School of Environmental Science and Management, University of California