Focus 4 - Human-Climate-Ecosystem Interactions

The structure of Focus 4, showing the Themes (brown boxes) and Working Groups (grey text), and the overlap with external programs (white boxes).

Focus 4 had six themes (brown boxes). The way in which Focus 4 overlapped with external programs is shown in the white boxes.

Focus 4 addressed the long-term interactions among past climate conditions, ecological processes and human activities. Emphasis was placed on comparing regional-scale reconstructions of environmental and climatic processes using natural archives, documentary and instrumental data, with evidence of past human activity obtained from historical, paleoecological and archaeological records.

This focus promoted regional integration of records and dynamic modeling to, (1) better understand the nature of climate-human-ecosystem interactions; (2) quantify the roles of different natural and anthropogenic drivers in forcing environmental change; (3) examine the feedbacks between anthropogenic activity and the natural system; and (4) provide integrated datasets for model development and data-model comparisons.

Overarching questions

What are the historical patterns of human interactions with climate change and ecological processes?

How can we learn from these past patterns and interactions in order to better understand and manage natural ecosystems at present and in the future?


To address the abovementioned questions, Focus 4 was divided into the following themes: Biodiversity, Land Use and Cover, Regional Integration, Soil and Sediment, and Water, with groups working under each theme.