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Proposes a radical new research agenda designed to broaden the scope of ecology to encompass vast geographical areas and very long time spans. While much ecological research is narrowly focused and experimental, providing detailed information that cannot be used to generalise from one ecological community or time period to another, macroecology, as outlined here, draws on data from many disciplines to create a less detailed but much broader picture with greater potential for generalisation. Integrating data from ecology, systematics, evolutionary biology, palaeobiology, and biogeography to investigate problems that could be addressed on a much smaller scale by traditional approaches, macroecology claims to provide a richer, more complete understanding of how patterns of life have moved across the earth over time. Brown also sees advantages in macroecology for conservation. He argues that we can look beyond endangered species and ecological communities to consider the long history and large geographic scale of human impacts. An important reassessment of the direction of ecology.