There is a growing need for cooperation between disciplines, not only to deal with the burning problems of the present, but to study the interaction of societies and their ecosystems in the past. In the 1970s studies in Environmental History were largely confined to North America. Recent years have brought about a vast increase in the "amount, the quality and the scope of scholarship on historical interactions between human (social and economic) de velopment and the biosphere in Europe, both East and West. This broad interest in environmental history may have been heightened and sharpened by the dangers of unbridled technology and unlimited growth, which are becoming more and more manifest. However, for several reasons it is still difficult to become familiar with the different approaches to this new and interdisciplinary of study. Many fields of thought - biology, anthropology, field geography, sociology and history - are involved; the relevant books and articles are hard to find and a coherent theoretical framework is still lacking, because the key issues have yet to be submitted to a thorough scholarly debate. It is hoped that the pre sent volume will make a contribution towards overcoming those shortcomings."