Geography is a component of Encyclopedia of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences in the global Encyclopedia of Life Support Systems (EOLSS), which is an integrated compendium of twenty one Encyclopedias.
Geographical perceptions can be traced from very ancient cultures, although geography as a science started its development during the eighteen century, it was firmly established after the Darwinian revolution and many of its fundamentals appeared during the nineteenth century. The history of geography is closely connected with the history of human society Geography embraces both the physical and human worlds, and aims to bridge natural and human sciences. For a geographer, although the environment and its conservation is a crucial item, it is also fundamentally concerned with the living standards of humankind. Although its wide embrace may be seen as a weakness, diversification is also strength and an attraction. Approaches are multidisciplinary, exploring the complex linkages between the cultural and the natural. These favor cross-cultural communication and mutual understanding at a global scale. There is a geographical basis to most of the outstanding political problems, and geographical reasons to explain them. The subject matter of the geography theme is presented basically on how the subject matter is taught presently at the universities, and following the many paths its practitioners are following in doing research. It introduces modern subject matters and goes much further than a simple description of places and travels. The theme has been divided into four main topics: Foundations, Physical Geography, Human Geography, and Technical matters. The scope of the foundation topic is to present an overview of the basis of the geographical field, its scope, history, methods, and its importance in education. The chapters included are Main Stages of the Development, Theory and Methods, and Geographical Education.
The Physical Geography topic includes the historical background of the geographical study of the Earth natural environment, and the main fields cultivated by geographers. It consists of eight chapters on basic research fields, which are Geomorphology, Climatology, Hydrology, Biogeography, Soil Geography, Coastal Systems, Ocean Geography, Mountain Geoecology, and two chapters on environmental issues: Natural Hazards and Land Degradation and Desertification.
In the Human Geography topic six chapters discuss the more current fields, that is: Population, Cultural and Social, Agricultural and Rural, Industries and Transport, Economic Activities and Urban Geography. Three chapters present subjects developed more recently: Medical, Political and Tourism geographies. Finally, the Regional approach is presented as the most traditional and integrative field.
These volumes are aimed at the following five major target audiences: University and College students Educators, Professional practitioners, Research personnel and Policy analysts, managers, and decision makers and NGOs.