New paleoclimatic perspectives on the future of terrestrial systems: bigger change, higher confidence?

June 14, 2017
WDG

Institute for Biodiversity & Ecosystem Dynamics seminar
University of Amsterdam
22 June 2017 (for details click here)

New paleoclimatic perspectives on the future of terrestrial systems: bigger change, higher confidence?
Jonathan Overpeck
The University of Arizona

Numerous assessments of future freshwater and terrestrial system change have highlighted the potential for unprecedented change in the 21st century given continued emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs) to the atmosphere; the risk to biodiversity is also believed to be high. The basis for these assertions are strengthened by recent observed ecosystem change, as well as by a new global compilation of climate and vegetation change over the last deglaciation indicating that most, if not all, dominantly natural landscapes on the planet are at high risk of significant transformation given the projected magnitude of warming that is likely in the future absent major reductions in global GHG emissions. At the same time, new paleoclimatic results indicate that the Amazon forests may be more resilient to future change than previously thought, whereas the risk of human deforestation associated with multi-year “megadrought” might be higher than previously believed.  A growing body of literature highlight that drought and megadrought risk around the globe is going to be a bigger problem than widely thought. We know with great confidence that warming will continue as long as GHG emissions continue, and this means more drying of terrestrial systems is likely over much of the planet. As a result, droughts will become more severe, longer and frequent as long as GHG emissions are not reduced significantly. The ability of precipitation increases to mitigate the ecological and hydrological impacts of continued warming is especially diminished in the many regions of the globe where multi-decadal megadrought is likely, an assessment made more challenging by the growing realization that that state-of-the-art climate models may underestimate the risk of future megadrought. Existing global climate change assessments may thus be underestimating the challenges to terrestrial water and ecoystems under continued climate change.

Hosted by: William Gosling

Netherlands Annual Ecology Meeting 2016 – day 2

February 10, 2016
WDG

NAEM_0Netherlands Annual Ecology Meeting (NAEM) 2016
10 February 2016
Conference Centre “De Werelt”, Lunteren

Day 2 of the NAEM breakfast 07:30, first lectures at 08:30… Two keynotes today thinking about ecological stoichiometry the first by Stan Harpole (Martin-Luther-Universitat-Halle-Wittenberg) focused on resource ratio theory, and then Martin Wassen (Utrecht University) thinking about N and P limitations. I also attended, parts of, three sessions today “Linkages between fire, vegetation, soil and ecosystem services”“Novel ecosystems”, and “Scaling from trait to environment and back”. My top talks for today were:

  1. Elmar Veenendaal (Wageningen University) Fire effects on tropical woody vegetation structure have been exaggerated?
    Working on long-term fire study plots (Kokondekro since 1932) suggest that for forest-savannah transition zones fire alone is insufficient to mediate a change between states; human manipulation of ecosystems is required as well to trigger the change.
  2. Frank van Langevelde (Wageningen University) Feedbacks between fire and patches of woody vegetation in tropical grassland savannah
    Examination of tree distributions and fire within the Kruger National Park shows that landscapes contain more clustered tree populations when fire frequency is higher.

Plus today I have done lots of talking and made many new contacts. I have lots of follow up emails to write and promised papers to send around! Overall this has been a super meeting for meeting people – perfect for expanding my network of Dutch based ecologists – in a nice location, with good food and beer. Looking forward to next year already.

PCRG publications 2013

December 20, 2013
WDG

Gosling, W.D., Miller, C.S. & Livingstone, D.A. (2013) Atlas of the tropical West African pollen flora. Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology, 199, 1-135

Gosling, W.D. & Williams, J.J. (2013) Ecosystem service provision sets the pace for pre-Hispanic societal development in the central Andes. The Holocene, 23, 1619-1624

Miller, C.S., Leroy, S.a.G., Izon, G., Lahijani, H.a.K., Marret, F., Cundy, A.B. & Teasdale, P.A. (2013) Palynology: A tool to identify abrupt events? An example from Chabahar Bay, southern Iran. Marine Geology, 337, 195-201

Roucoux, K.H., Lawson, I.T., Jones, T.D., Baker, T.R., Coronado, E.N.H., Gosling, W.D. & Lähteenoja, O. (2013) Vegetation development in an Amazonian peatland. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 374, 242-255

Rull, V., Montoya, E., Nogué, S., Vegas-Vilarrúbia, T. & Safont, E. (2013) Ecological palaeoecology in the neotropical Gran Sabana region: Long-term records of vegetation dynamics as a basis for ecological hypothesis testing. Perspectives in Plant Ecology, Evolution and Systematics, 15, 338-359

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