The origin, expanding, and impact of agriculture in East Asia
State Key Lab of Loess & Quaternary Geology, Institute of Earth Environment, CAS, Xi’an Hi-Tech Zone, Xi’an, 710075, China
The Anthropocene was suggested as an individual geological episode containing special signification and content, which human affect the natural behavior of Earth. The agriculture, as one of the most important events appeared in the early Holocene and developed rapidly, which is the most important economic activity in prehistoric society and the important base of the forming and development of civilization.
The Fertile Crescent of Southwest Asia was the place of origin of domesticated wheat, barley, between about 9500 and 7500 BC. China is another important origin center of agriculture. Rice, as one of the most important crops in East Asia, was domesticated in the Yangtze River valley firstly in southern China (about 9000 a BP ago) and the rain-fed agriculture of foxtail millet and broomcorn millet originated in middle Yellow River valley in northern China (about 10000 a BP ago).
The agricultural expansion and impacts were momentous events in Neolithic Eurasia and have been intensified during the last few decades. The hypothesis of “Early farming dispersal” focused on early agriculture development included population growth, the expansions of material cultures and language. Many models have been applied to demonstrate the agricultural radiation from origin centers, with initial movement of Neolithic economic systems, dispersal events and expanding population.
The recent research suggested the hypothesis on that the anthropogenic emissions of greenhouse gases first altered atmospheric concentrations many millennia ago as a result of the discovery and spread of agriculture and subsequent technological innovations in the practice of farming by scientists. Research on climate indicates that a cooling and drying trend developed from about 5000 years ago across the Asian monsoonal region. The archaeological and biological data reveal that from about the same time there was an important transition point corresponding to the rapid growth of population and associated expansion of cultivated rice areas. Extensive deforestation also occurred from this time. The expansion of rice agriculture and extended wetland areas these provided more sources of methane emissions, and thus contributed to greenhouse gas budgets.