(HU·man·KIND). In anthropology the defining characteristics of human, that is in this case, anatomically modern Homo sapiens is problematic. The scientific system of classification of life forms, a taxonomy, distinguishes between plant and animal kingdoms. As humans share so many biological characteristics with animals and the scientific explanation for the existence of humans is biological evolution from earlier animal life forms biologists place humans in the animal kingdom. In this context, only humans, have the capacity for culture and symbolic language. In more conservative Christian theologies humans are not animals but created in God's image and exist at a level between angels and animals. This is the apparent view of the apostle Paul and the early Church. Abilities unique to humans include abstract thinking and symbolic language. There are other differences as well and the debate on this subject continues.
Humankind's impact upon the landscape is so pervasive that often, in urban and agricultural landscapes, we forget about the other components altogether. Conversely, when we are in the forest (which may seem to city eyes wild and natural), we often fail to see that the landscape is often as influenced by man as any city or plantation. For instance trade in the forest products of the Philippine islands was well established a thousand years ago and, by the time the Spanish colonization started, there were a number of well established trading centers linked with Arabia, China, Europe and India, which exported luxury forest products such as hard-woods, rattans, camphor and a variety of resins. The collection of these products will have had a significant impact upon the natural Ecosystems of the islands' forests. Hunters, and collectors of non-timber forest products influence ecosystemsmisEcosystemsPop because of their direct impact upon the communities of hunted animals; because they make tracks through the forest, provoking seed distribution of useful plants; and because even temporary settlements tend to introduce or favor plants which are useful.