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Anthropogenic land cover change over the last 6000 years: How can we use archaeology to inform global models?

Author(s): Jed Kaplan ; Andrea Kay ; Leanne Phelps

Year: 2017

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Did humans affect global climate before the Industrial Era? While this question is hotly debated, the co-evolution of humans and the natural environment since the last Ice Age had an undisputed role in influencing the development and present state of terrestrial ecosystems, many of which are highly valued today as economic, cultural, and ecological resources. Yet we still have a very incomplete picture of human-environment interactions over the last 21,000 years, both spatially and temporally. In order to address this problem, I am working as part of the PAGES LandCover6k/LandUse6k group to synthesize the archaeological record of demographic, technological, and economic development in the preindustrial world. These data are combined with a dynamic global model of land cover and human-environment interactions to quantify the magnitude and timing of global anthropogenic land cover change in the late Pleistocene and preindustrial Holocene. This integrated model is driven with paleoclimate from GCM scenarios and simulates global land cover and human land use change, fire, soil erosion, and emissions of CO2 and methane (CH4). My results highlight the importance of the long histories of both climate change and human demographic, economic, and technological history on the development of continental-scale landscapes.

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Anthropogenic land cover change over the last 6000 years: How can we use archaeology to inform global models?. Jed Kaplan, Andrea Kay, Leanne Phelps. Presented at The 81st Annual Meeting of the Society for American Archaeology, Vancouver, British Columbia. 2017 ( tDAR id: 429237)


Record Identifiers

Abstract Id(s): 15539

Arizona State University The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation National Science Foundation National Endowment for the Humanities Society for American Archaeology Archaeological Institute of America