Human geography is the study of how people interact with their environments. In other words, it is the study of how people are affected by, and how they affect, their surroundings. This is a very broad field involving cultural, economic, environmental, and ideological factors. Human geographers are interested in such topics as:
- cultural characteristics that affect a people's use of the environment
- how geographic factors influence culture
- interactions among various peoples around the globe (especially the historically recent phenomenon of globalization)
- demographic patterns
- regional economic inequalities
- usage of natural resources
In short, as one writer puts it, "Human geography is concerned with all aspects of life on Earth, but in particular adopts a spatial approach." This means that human geographers interpret politics, economics, culture, and other aspects of human life as inextricably connected to spaces--cities, physical environments, and so on. The characteristics of a particular region shape the human institutions that develop there, and of course these characteristics--in particular natural resources like forests--are shaped by human activity as well.