Quantifying the effects of land use and climate on Holocene vegetation in Europe

Laurent Marquer*, Marie José Gaillard, Shinya Sugita, Anneli Poska, Anna Kari Trondman, Florence Mazier, Anne Birgitte Nielsen, Ralph M. Fyfe, Anna Maria Jönsson, Benjamin Smith, Jed O. Kaplan, Teija Alenius, H. John B. Birks, Anne E. Bjune, Jörg Christiansen, John Dodson, Kevin J. Edwards, Thomas Giesecke, Ulrike Herzschuh, Mihkel Kangur & 5 others Tiiu Koff, Małgorzata Latałowa, Jutta Lechterbeck, Jörgen Olofsson, Heikki Seppä

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

20 Citations (Scopus)
3 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

Early agriculture can be detected in palaeovegetation records, but quantification of the relative importance of climate and land use in influencing regional vegetation composition since the onset of agriculture is a topic that is rarely addressed. We present a novel approach that combines pollen-based REVEALS estimates of plant cover with climate, anthropogenic land-cover and dynamic vegetation modelling results. This is used to quantify the relative impacts of land use and climate on Holocene vegetation at a sub-continental scale, i.e. northern and western Europe north of the Alps. We use redundancy analysis and variation partitioning to quantify the percentage of variation in vegetation composition explained by the climate and land-use variables, and Monte Carlo permutation tests to assess the statistical significance of each variable. We further use a similarity index to combine pollen-based REVEALS estimates with climate-driven dynamic vegetation modelling results. The overall results indicate that climate is the major driver of vegetation when the Holocene is considered as a whole and at the sub-continental scale, although land use is important regionally. Four critical phases of land-use effects on vegetation are identified. The first phase (from 7000 to 6500 BP) corresponds to the early impacts on vegetation of farming and Neolithic forest clearance and to the dominance of climate as a driver of vegetation change. During the second phase (from 4500 to 4000 BP), land use becomes a major control of vegetation. Climate is still the principal driver, although its influence decreases gradually. The third phase (from 2000 to 1500 BP) is characterised by the continued role of climate on vegetation as a consequence of late-Holocene climate shifts and specific climate events that influence vegetation as well as land use. The last phase (from 500 to 350 BP) shows an acceleration of vegetation changes, in particular during the last century, caused by new farming practices and forestry in response to population growth and industrialization. This is a unique signature of anthropogenic impact within the Holocene but European vegetation remains climatically sensitive and thus may continue to respond to ongoing climate change.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)20-37
Number of pages18
JournalQuaternary Science Reviews
Volume171
Early online date10 Jul 2017
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Sep 2017

Fingerprint

land use
Holocene
climate
vegetation
driver
vegetation dynamics
Europe
effect
Climate
Vegetation
Land Use
agriculture
pollen
forest clearance
farming systems
Northern Europe
Alps region
Alps
statistical significance
similarity index

Keywords

  • Climate
  • Europe
  • Holocene
  • Human impact
  • Land use
  • LPJ-GUESS
  • Pollen
  • Reveals
  • Vegetation composition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Archaeology
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Archaeology
  • Geology

Cite this

Marquer, L., Gaillard, M. J., Sugita, S., Poska, A., Trondman, A. K., Mazier, F., ... Seppä, H. (2017). Quantifying the effects of land use and climate on Holocene vegetation in Europe. Quaternary Science Reviews, 171, 20-37. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.quascirev.2017.07.001

Quantifying the effects of land use and climate on Holocene vegetation in Europe. / Marquer, Laurent; Gaillard, Marie José; Sugita, Shinya; Poska, Anneli; Trondman, Anna Kari; Mazier, Florence; Nielsen, Anne Birgitte; Fyfe, Ralph M.; Jönsson, Anna Maria; Smith, Benjamin; Kaplan, Jed O.; Alenius, Teija; Birks, H. John B.; Bjune, Anne E.; Christiansen, Jörg; Dodson, John; Edwards, Kevin J.; Giesecke, Thomas; Herzschuh, Ulrike; Kangur, Mihkel; Koff, Tiiu; Latałowa, Małgorzata; Lechterbeck, Jutta; Olofsson, Jörgen; Seppä, Heikki.

In: Quaternary Science Reviews, Vol. 171, 01.09.2017, p. 20-37.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Marquer, L, Gaillard, MJ, Sugita, S, Poska, A, Trondman, AK, Mazier, F, Nielsen, AB, Fyfe, RM, Jönsson, AM, Smith, B, Kaplan, JO, Alenius, T, Birks, HJB, Bjune, AE, Christiansen, J, Dodson, J, Edwards, KJ, Giesecke, T, Herzschuh, U, Kangur, M, Koff, T, Latałowa, M, Lechterbeck, J, Olofsson, J & Seppä, H 2017, 'Quantifying the effects of land use and climate on Holocene vegetation in Europe', Quaternary Science Reviews, vol. 171, pp. 20-37. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.quascirev.2017.07.001
Marquer, Laurent ; Gaillard, Marie José ; Sugita, Shinya ; Poska, Anneli ; Trondman, Anna Kari ; Mazier, Florence ; Nielsen, Anne Birgitte ; Fyfe, Ralph M. ; Jönsson, Anna Maria ; Smith, Benjamin ; Kaplan, Jed O. ; Alenius, Teija ; Birks, H. John B. ; Bjune, Anne E. ; Christiansen, Jörg ; Dodson, John ; Edwards, Kevin J. ; Giesecke, Thomas ; Herzschuh, Ulrike ; Kangur, Mihkel ; Koff, Tiiu ; Latałowa, Małgorzata ; Lechterbeck, Jutta ; Olofsson, Jörgen ; Seppä, Heikki. / Quantifying the effects of land use and climate on Holocene vegetation in Europe. In: Quaternary Science Reviews. 2017 ; Vol. 171. pp. 20-37.
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abstract = "Early agriculture can be detected in palaeovegetation records, but quantification of the relative importance of climate and land use in influencing regional vegetation composition since the onset of agriculture is a topic that is rarely addressed. We present a novel approach that combines pollen-based REVEALS estimates of plant cover with climate, anthropogenic land-cover and dynamic vegetation modelling results. This is used to quantify the relative impacts of land use and climate on Holocene vegetation at a sub-continental scale, i.e. northern and western Europe north of the Alps. We use redundancy analysis and variation partitioning to quantify the percentage of variation in vegetation composition explained by the climate and land-use variables, and Monte Carlo permutation tests to assess the statistical significance of each variable. We further use a similarity index to combine pollen-based REVEALS estimates with climate-driven dynamic vegetation modelling results. The overall results indicate that climate is the major driver of vegetation when the Holocene is considered as a whole and at the sub-continental scale, although land use is important regionally. Four critical phases of land-use effects on vegetation are identified. The first phase (from 7000 to 6500 BP) corresponds to the early impacts on vegetation of farming and Neolithic forest clearance and to the dominance of climate as a driver of vegetation change. During the second phase (from 4500 to 4000 BP), land use becomes a major control of vegetation. Climate is still the principal driver, although its influence decreases gradually. The third phase (from 2000 to 1500 BP) is characterised by the continued role of climate on vegetation as a consequence of late-Holocene climate shifts and specific climate events that influence vegetation as well as land use. The last phase (from 500 to 350 BP) shows an acceleration of vegetation changes, in particular during the last century, caused by new farming practices and forestry in response to population growth and industrialization. This is a unique signature of anthropogenic impact within the Holocene but European vegetation remains climatically sensitive and thus may continue to respond to ongoing climate change.",
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author = "Laurent Marquer and Gaillard, {Marie Jos{\'e}} and Shinya Sugita and Anneli Poska and Trondman, {Anna Kari} and Florence Mazier and Nielsen, {Anne Birgitte} and Fyfe, {Ralph M.} and J{\"o}nsson, {Anna Maria} and Benjamin Smith and Kaplan, {Jed O.} and Teija Alenius and Birks, {H. John B.} and Bjune, {Anne E.} and J{\"o}rg Christiansen and John Dodson and Edwards, {Kevin J.} and Thomas Giesecke and Ulrike Herzschuh and Mihkel Kangur and Tiiu Koff and Małgorzata Latałowa and Jutta Lechterbeck and J{\"o}rgen Olofsson and Heikki Sepp{\"a}",
note = "Acknowledgements This work is part of the LANDCLIM (LAND cover –CLIMate interactions in NW Europe during the Holocene) project (supported by the Swedish Research Council VR) and research network (supported by the Nordic Council of Ministers NordForsk) (2009–2011 and supported later by MERGE, see below) coordinated by M.J. Gaillard. It is also a contribution to the Strategic Research Area MERGE (ModElling the Regional and Global Earth system; http://www.merge.lu.se), the Swedish Research Programme on Climate, Impacts and Adaptation (Mistra-SWECIA; http://www.mistra-swecia.se/en), the Linnaeus Centre of Excellence LUCCI, the PAGES LandCover6k working group (http://www.pastglobalchanges.org/ini/wg/landcover6k/intro) coordinated by M.J. Gaillard, and the Crafoord Foundation research project ‘Long term impact of changes in climate and land use on forest tree species composition in south Sweden’ coordinated by A.M. J{\"o}nsson and L. Marquer. J.O. Kaplan was supported by the European Research Council (COEVOLVE, 313797). We thank all members of the LANDCLIM network for data contributions and constructive discussions and the reviewers and the editor for helpful and insightful comments.",
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N1 - Acknowledgements This work is part of the LANDCLIM (LAND cover –CLIMate interactions in NW Europe during the Holocene) project (supported by the Swedish Research Council VR) and research network (supported by the Nordic Council of Ministers NordForsk) (2009–2011 and supported later by MERGE, see below) coordinated by M.J. Gaillard. It is also a contribution to the Strategic Research Area MERGE (ModElling the Regional and Global Earth system; http://www.merge.lu.se), the Swedish Research Programme on Climate, Impacts and Adaptation (Mistra-SWECIA; http://www.mistra-swecia.se/en), the Linnaeus Centre of Excellence LUCCI, the PAGES LandCover6k working group (http://www.pastglobalchanges.org/ini/wg/landcover6k/intro) coordinated by M.J. Gaillard, and the Crafoord Foundation research project ‘Long term impact of changes in climate and land use on forest tree species composition in south Sweden’ coordinated by A.M. Jönsson and L. Marquer. J.O. Kaplan was supported by the European Research Council (COEVOLVE, 313797). We thank all members of the LANDCLIM network for data contributions and constructive discussions and the reviewers and the editor for helpful and insightful comments.

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