Research Topic

Past Interactions Between Climate, Land Use, and Vegetation

About this Research Topic

Long-term observations are of great importance to understand trends of environmental change at different time scales. They provide context for increasing global temperatures and the accelerating rate of change over the last century. They also provide insights into societal changes to past climate changes, and the disturbance degree of climate patterns and land use at a Holocene time scale. Although there is strong evidence of past land use affecting ecosystems considerably, the detailed extent of these effects is still much debated. The degree to which climate and land use, respectively, contribute to changes in vegetation is complex, unknown, and is of critical importance for landscape management.

The development of pollen-based modeling allows for pollen information to be transformed into quantitative plant land-cover estimates with well-defined spatial and temporal resolutions. These estimates can be combined with climate and land-use variables to quantify their effects on past vegetation changes.

Studying the major trends of climate and land-use effects on Holocene vegetation requires a focus on sub-continental and regional scales. Simulated climate datasets, anthropogenic land-cover modeling (e.g. deforestation), and trends in human population size based on archaeological radiocarbon dates have been used as climate and land-use variables. Variables based on empirical data (e.g. chironomids, archaeological and historical information) provide additional information for analyses but do not cover large spatial scales at present.

Temperature, drought, and precipitation estimates inferred from tree-ring chronologies are available for sub-continental to regional scales and cover the last millennium. Dendrochronological studies further provide empirical data about historical land use (e.g. forest management) and tree growth responses to climate changes. There is a great potential for combining tree-ring proxies with pollen-based vegetation modeling to quantify the effects of climate and land use on vegetation. Knowledge about past forest cover and composition, landscape openness, and extent of land use, which is based on pollen, is of considerable interest to the tree-ring community. Enhanced exchanges between scientists working with pollen and/or tree rings, and vegetation/climate/land use-related studies, are critical to addressing the issues outlined.

This Research Topic is aimed at promoting exchange between the pollen and tree-ring communities, and other fields of research related to vegetation-climate-land use interactions. We welcome an interdisciplinary collection of papers in basic and applied research covering all aspects of vegetation, climate, and land use studies, as well as the application of innovative methods for data integration.

We invite authors to submit original research and review articles focusing on the following topics:
• State-of-the-arts in pollen-based vegetation modeling and tree-ring based climate variables
• Land use information based on dendrochronology
• Past land-use variables based on archaeological and historical data
• Past vegetation composition and diversity based on pollen and other environmental proxies
• Plant responses to climate change
• Range of land use and climate influences on vegetation changes from local, regional to sub-continental scales
• Development of statistical tools and modeling frameworks to combine/analyze climate, land use and vegetation estimates


Keywords: Pollen, Land-cover, Tree-rings, Dendrochronology, Data integration


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.

Long-term observations are of great importance to understand trends of environmental change at different time scales. They provide context for increasing global temperatures and the accelerating rate of change over the last century. They also provide insights into societal changes to past climate changes, and the disturbance degree of climate patterns and land use at a Holocene time scale. Although there is strong evidence of past land use affecting ecosystems considerably, the detailed extent of these effects is still much debated. The degree to which climate and land use, respectively, contribute to changes in vegetation is complex, unknown, and is of critical importance for landscape management.

The development of pollen-based modeling allows for pollen information to be transformed into quantitative plant land-cover estimates with well-defined spatial and temporal resolutions. These estimates can be combined with climate and land-use variables to quantify their effects on past vegetation changes.

Studying the major trends of climate and land-use effects on Holocene vegetation requires a focus on sub-continental and regional scales. Simulated climate datasets, anthropogenic land-cover modeling (e.g. deforestation), and trends in human population size based on archaeological radiocarbon dates have been used as climate and land-use variables. Variables based on empirical data (e.g. chironomids, archaeological and historical information) provide additional information for analyses but do not cover large spatial scales at present.

Temperature, drought, and precipitation estimates inferred from tree-ring chronologies are available for sub-continental to regional scales and cover the last millennium. Dendrochronological studies further provide empirical data about historical land use (e.g. forest management) and tree growth responses to climate changes. There is a great potential for combining tree-ring proxies with pollen-based vegetation modeling to quantify the effects of climate and land use on vegetation. Knowledge about past forest cover and composition, landscape openness, and extent of land use, which is based on pollen, is of considerable interest to the tree-ring community. Enhanced exchanges between scientists working with pollen and/or tree rings, and vegetation/climate/land use-related studies, are critical to addressing the issues outlined.

This Research Topic is aimed at promoting exchange between the pollen and tree-ring communities, and other fields of research related to vegetation-climate-land use interactions. We welcome an interdisciplinary collection of papers in basic and applied research covering all aspects of vegetation, climate, and land use studies, as well as the application of innovative methods for data integration.

We invite authors to submit original research and review articles focusing on the following topics:
• State-of-the-arts in pollen-based vegetation modeling and tree-ring based climate variables
• Land use information based on dendrochronology
• Past land-use variables based on archaeological and historical data
• Past vegetation composition and diversity based on pollen and other environmental proxies
• Plant responses to climate change
• Range of land use and climate influences on vegetation changes from local, regional to sub-continental scales
• Development of statistical tools and modeling frameworks to combine/analyze climate, land use and vegetation estimates


Keywords: Pollen, Land-cover, Tree-rings, Dendrochronology, Data integration


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.

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Submission Deadlines

30 April 2021 Abstract
30 June 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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Topic Editors

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Submission Deadlines

30 April 2021 Abstract
30 June 2021 Manuscript

Participating Journals

Manuscripts can be submitted to this Research Topic via the following journals:

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