Research Topic

Identifying Human Activity in Palaeoecological Records

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Palaeoecological techniques have long been used to identify and characterize the onset of human activity in different settings worldwide, as well as to gain a better understanding of human-climate-disturbance interactions over varying scales of time and space. Despite the undeniable evidence that humans have ...

Palaeoecological techniques have long been used to identify and characterize the onset of human activity in different settings worldwide, as well as to gain a better understanding of human-climate-disturbance interactions over varying scales of time and space. Despite the undeniable evidence that humans have now transformed many, if not all, of the Earth’s ecosystems, the antiquity, extent and pace at which humans altered the environment through time is hotly debated. At local to regional scales this makes the implementation of appropriate management practices a major challenge; at the global scale identification of the timing and extent of human impact is critical for understanding biome functioning during the Holocene.

One of the key challenges for palaeoecologists is to improve our understanding of when specific human activities, including hunting, land clearing and agriculture, began altering ecosystems at regional as well as global scales and to clarify how ecosystems responded in these human-mediated landscapes. In this Research Topic participants are welcomed to contribute palaeoecological records that address the following topics:

1) How do we identify the timing and ecological consequences of the initial period of human activity at (a) local, (b) regional to (c) global scales;

2) Examine new approaches that contribute to our understanding of the onset of human influence.

3) Illustrate the role that past human activity may have played in altering ecosystems from one state to another, creating tipping points for ecosystem change, or enhancing ecosystem resilience through conservation/restoration management.


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