About this Research Topic
Understanding complex interactions between abiotic and biotic factors and their impact on the structure of forest communities across space and time is a major goal in ecological research. Studies of past ecosystems can provide insights into current and future forest dynamics. However, disentangling the relationships between biotic and abiotic factors in the fossil record has historically been challenging. Paleoecological and dendroecological approaches are among the main tools used to reconstruct past forest dynamics, disturbance regimes and biotic and abiotic interactions. Forests are complex systems where many factors and processes interact simultaneously at multiple spatial scales. However, to date, paleoecological research has largely focused on climate change and wildfire, while other natural disturbances (e.g. insect outbreaks, hurricanes, etc.) and abiotic-biotic interactions have been neglected, even if they are known to be major drivers of forest structure and dynamics. The main reason for this relative lack of paleoecological research to account for the abiotic-biotic interactions has been the absence of reliable proxies. However, several new developments have shown promise, potentially opening the way to new interpretations of the proxy record, and advances in the understanding of long-term development of forest ecosystems. It is thus essential to review methodological advances and interdisciplinary approaches to tackle these questions in innovative ways across taxonomic groups, forest ecosystems and disturbance types.
We are living a crucial moment in ecology, facing climate change. Paleoecology and dendroecology are essential tools looking for solutions to current challenges in forest sciences. In many regions of the world, they greatly surpass the time span of the documentary or remote sensing records, and thus provide the temporal depth required to assess ecological change over long time scales. This Research Topic aims at filling knowledge gaps regarding both the understanding of forest ecosystem structure and dynamics and innovative methodologies in paleoecology and dendroecology, highlighting the implications for sustainable management of forest resources under climate change. This Research Topic will embrace multi-scalar and multi-disciplinary approaches, from stand to landscape and from the Quaternary to the Anthropocene. In this Research Topic, we aim to publish a series of articles that will cover a diversity of approaches, including new paleoindicators and multiproxy studies, drawing on examples from forest ecosystems around the world. In particular, we welcome submissions on the following topics:
Reconstruction of natural disturbance regimes, e.g. wildfire, insect outbreaks, hurricanes, etc.
Disturbance interactions in forest ecosystems,
Reconstruction of forest dynamics through time,
New methods and proxies in paleoecology and dendroecology,
Description of drivers of natural disturbances in forest ecosystems,
Biotic and abiotic interactions in past forest ecosystems, e.g. seed dispersal, herbivory…
We welcome empirical studies, original research, meta-analyses and novel methods from around the World, as well as Reviews, Perspectives and Opinions to consolidate this topic and provide trends and challenges in paleoecology, as well as future research priorities.
Keywords: Climate change, Dendroecology, Forests, Natural disturbances, Paleoecology
Important Note: All contributions to this Research Topic must be within the scope of the section and journal to which they are submitted, as defined in their mission statements. Frontiers reserves the right to guide an out-of-scope manuscript to a more suitable section or journal at any stage of peer review.