Articles | Volume 6, issue 4
Clim. Past, 6, 483–499, 2010

Special issue: Retrospective views on our planet's future – PAGES Open...

Clim. Past, 6, 483–499, 2010

  26 Jul 2010

26 Jul 2010

Holocene land-cover reconstructions for studies on land cover-climate feedbacks

M.-J. Gaillard1, S. Sugita2, F. Mazier3,4, A.-K. Trondman1, A. Broström4, T. Hickler4, J. O. Kaplan5, E. Kjellström6, U. Kokfelt4, P. Kuneš7, C. Lemmen8, P. Miller4, J. Olofsson4, A. Poska4, M. Rundgren4, B. Smith4, G. Strandberg6, R. Fyfe9, A. B. Nielsen10, T. Alenius11, L. Balakauskas12, L. Barnekow4, H. J. B. Birks13, A. Bjune14, L. Björkman15, T. Giesecke10, K. Hjelle16, L. Kalnina17, M. Kangur2, W. O. van der Knaap18, T. Koff2, P. Lagerås19, M. Latałowa20, M. Leydet21, J. Lechterbeck22, M. Lindbladh23, B. Odgaard7, S. Peglar13, U. Segerström24, H. von Stedingk24, and H. Seppä25 M.-J. Gaillard et al.
  • 1School of Pure and Applied Sciences, Linnaeus University, 39182 Kalmar, Sweden
  • 2Institute of Ecology, Tallinn University, 10120 Tallinn, Estonia
  • 3GEODE, UMR 5602, University of Toulouse, 5 allée A. Machado, 31058 Toulouse Cedex, France
  • 4Department of Earth and Ecosystem Sciences, Lund University, Sölvegatan 12, 223 62 Sweden
  • 5ARVE Group, Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne, Station 2, 1015 Lausanne, Switzerland
  • 6Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute, 60176 Norrköping, Sweden
  • 7Institute of Earth Sciences Aarhus University C. F. Møllers Allé 4, 8000 Århus C, Denmark
  • 8Institute for Coastal Research, GKSS-Forschungszentrum Geesthacht GmbH, 21502 Geesthacht, Germany
  • 9School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Plymouth, Plymouth, UK
  • 10Department of Palynology and Climate Dynamics Albrecht-von-Haller-Institute for Plant Sciences, University of Göttingen, Untere Karspüle 2, 37073 Göttingen, Germany
  • 11Institute of Cultural Research, Department of Archaeology, P.O. Box 59, 00014 University of Helsinki, Finland
  • 12Department of Geology and Mineralogy, Faculty of Natural Sciences, University of Vilnius, Čiurlionis Street 21/27, 03101 Vilnius, Lituania
  • 13Department of Biology, University of Bergen, P.O. Box 7803, 5020 Bergen, Norway and School of Geography and the Environment, University of Oxford, Oxford OX1 3QY, UK
  • 14Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research, Department of Biology, University of Bergen, Allegatén 41, 5007 Bergen, Norway
  • 15Viscum pollenanalys and miljöhistoria c/o Leif Björkman, Bodavägen 16, 571 42 Nässjö, Sweden
  • 16Bergen Museum, University of Bergen, P.O. Box 7800, 5020 Bergen
  • 17Faculty of Geography and Earth Sciences, University of Latvia, Rainis Blvd 19, 1586 Riga, Latvia
  • 18Institute of Plant Sciences, University of Bern, Altenbergrain 21, 3013 Bern, Switzerland
  • 19Swedish National Heritage Board, Department of archaeological studies, UV Syd, Odlarevägen 5, 226 60 Lund, Sweden
  • 20Laboratory of Palaeoecology and Archaeology, University of Gdañsk, Al. Legionów 9, 80441 Gdañsk, Poland
  • 21CEREGE – UMR CNRS 6635, Université Paul Cézanne, Aix- Marseille III , BP 80 Europôle Méditerranéen de l'Arbois, 13 545 Aix-en-Provence Cedex 4, France
  • 22Landesamt für Denkmalpflege, Arbeitsstelle Hemmenhofen, Labor für Archäobotanik, Fischersteig 9, 78343 Hemmenhofen, Germany
  • 23Institutionen för sydsvensk skogsvetenskap Southern Swedish Forest Research Centre, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences SLU, Box 49, 230 53 Alnarp, Sweden
  • 24Department of Forest Ecology and Management, Faculty of Forestry, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences SLU, 901 83 Umeå, Sweden
  • 25Department of Geology, P.O. Box 64, 00014, University of Helsinki, Finland

Abstract. The major objectives of this paper are: (1) to review the pros and cons of the scenarios of past anthropogenic land cover change (ALCC) developed during the last ten years, (2) to discuss issues related to pollen-based reconstruction of the past land-cover and introduce a new method, REVEALS (Regional Estimates of VEgetation Abundance from Large Sites), to infer long-term records of past land-cover from pollen data, (3) to present a new project (LANDCLIM: LAND cover – CLIMate interactions in NW Europe during the Holocene) currently underway, and show preliminary results of REVEALS reconstructions of the regional land-cover in the Czech Republic for five selected time windows of the Holocene, and (4) to discuss the implications and future directions in climate and vegetation/land-cover modeling, and in the assessment of the effects of human-induced changes in land-cover on the regional climate through altered feedbacks. The existing ALCC scenarios show large discrepancies between them, and few cover time periods older than AD 800. When these scenarios are used to assess the impact of human land-use on climate, contrasting results are obtained. It emphasizes the need for methods such as the REVEALS model-based land-cover reconstructions. They might help to fine-tune descriptions of past land-cover and lead to a better understanding of how long-term changes in ALCC might have influenced climate. The REVEALS model is demonstrated to provide better estimates of the regional vegetation/land-cover changes than the traditional use of pollen percentages. This will achieve a robust assessment of land cover at regional- to continental-spatial scale throughout the Holocene. We present maps of REVEALS estimates for the percentage cover of 10 plant functional types (PFTs) at 200 BP and 6000 BP, and of the two open-land PFTs "grassland" and "agricultural land" at five time-windows from 6000 BP to recent time. The LANDCLIM results are expected to provide crucial data to reassess ALCC estimates for a better understanding of the land suface-atmosphere interactions.