Putting History to Work on Climate Change

A workshop on land use classification

October 22-23, 2015
PAGES Working Group — LandCover6k Meeting
University of Chicago Center in Paris, France
6, rue Thomas Mann
75013 Paris, France
+33 (0) 1 53 94 78 80

Schedule  |  Conference Program

How can evidence from history, archaeology, and historical geography inform global climate models? Historical data are used in modeling present and future climate, but these reconstructions are based not on the vast repository of historical scholarship, but on other models. Until now, historical scholars have not had the opportunity to contribute directly to climate change science even though evidence for human land use, from foraging and farming to mining and industry, constitutes critical evidence in reconstructing past land cover (vegetation) and climate. LandCover6k is an international working group dedicated to data-based reconstruction of both land cover (using pollen data) and land use (using archaeological and historical data). Representing an ambitious attempt to aggregate and synthesize evidence for land use and land cover change across the Holocene, we welcome participation from scholars around the world.

This second meeting of LandCover6k focused on the classification of global human land use systems in preparation for the work of data aggregation and synthesis. Between c. 10,000 years ago and CE 1850, humans practiced a wide range of land use strategies, strategies with variable levels of impact on local and regional vegetation.  We invited participation from archaeologists, historians, geographers, anthropologists, ecologists, and others interested in the historical diversity of human land use. The meeting format was a workshop, designed to develop an initial draft of a hierarchical, scalable land use classification that can be applied globally and across the Holocene. The meeting was also meant to promote interaction within the community of historical scholars and to introduce opportunities for broader interaction with the paleoscience community.