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date: 10 December 2018

Abstract and Keywords

The phrase ‘long term’ is increasingly used as a keyword descriptive for research proposals and outputs claiming to contribute to debates on past and future climate change, sustainable economies, and the resilience of different landscapes. Scholars from across the environmental and social sciences and the humanities are engaged in this kind of research and are keen to see their results used to influence policy and practice. While ostensibly addressing mutually common issues, scrutiny of these studies indicates very divergent uses of the term ‘long term’. Such variation can act as an impediment to the development of truly interdisciplinary historical ecologies, especially since scholars often fail to specify the precise temporal range they have in mind when they employ the phrase ‘long term’. This chapter reviews these alternative understandings of the term and their associated problems, and offers some suggestions as to how these might be overcome.

Keywords: long-term, temporal range, sustainable economies, historical ecology, climate change, resilience

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