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Anthropogenic (from the Greek meaning manmade) effects, processes or materials are those that are derived from human activities, as opposed to those occurring in biophysical environments without human influence.

The term is often used in the context of environmental externalities in the form of chemical or biological wastes that are produced as by-products of otherwise purposeful human activities.

The term anthropogenic designates an effect or object resulting from human activity. The term was first in the technical sense by Russian geologist A. P. Pavlov, and was first used in English by British ecologist Arthur Tansley in reference to human influences on climax plant communities.[1] The atmospheric scientist Paul Crutzen introduced the term "anthropocene" in the mid-1970s by .[2] Shortly after, Sherwood Rowland and Mario Molina published a series of articles putting forward the idea of the impact of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) on the stratospheric ozone.[3] The term is sometimes used in the context of pollution emissions that are produced as a result of human activities but applies broadly to all major human impacts on the environment..[4]



Anthropogenic sources include industry, agriculture, botany, mining, transportation, construction, habitations, and purposeful changes such as afforestation.





  • The human alteration of plants by breeding, selection, genetic engineering and tissue fusion (see cultigen)
  • Genetic pollution (see beefalo)




  • Concentration of human activities in discrete zones.
  • Concentration of waste products, sewage, and debris.


Anthropogenic tracers help measure objectively the amount of human influence in a given environment. See Environmental behavior of EDTA as an example.

See also


  1. ^ Bampton, M. "Anthropogenic Transformation" in Encyclopedia of Environmental Science, D. E. Alexander and R. W. Fairbridge, Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, The Netherlands
  2. ^ Crutzen, Paul and Eugene Stoermer. "The 'Anthropocene'" in International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme Newsletter. 41 (May 2000): 17-18
  3. ^ * Molina, Mario and F.S. Rowland. "Stratospheric Sink for Chlorofluoromethanes: Chlorine Atom: Catalyzed Destruction of the Ozone". NAture. 249 (June 28, 1974):810-12
  4. ^ Scott, Michon (2008). "Glossary". Earth Observatory. Retrieved 2008-11-03. 


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