Modelling forest dynamics over the last 15,000 years
Pollen diagrams represent the most widely available proxy for past plant cover in Europe over the last 15,000 years and many of them are easily available through the European Pollen Database (EPD). All these records document vegetation change as a result of a combination of different driving factors, of which climate change and human land use are the most important on the European scale. The aim of this research project is to help disentangle the effect of different driving forces on European vegetation history over the last 15.000 years, with a specific focus on central European vegetation change.
This aim will be perused through data-model comparisons: simulating the effect of distinct forcing mechanisms on long term vegetation change and comparing the results to vegetation reconstructions. As a basis for these comparisons, vegetation maps for different periods over the last 15.000 years will be compiled for central Europe based on pollen data. A number of proposed mechanisms for past vegetation change will be selected from the literature and simulated using appropriate vegetation models, especially with the dynamic model LPJ-GUESS. Here it will be necessary to improve the parameterization of selected European tree species. In selected cases possible forcing mechanisms may require the design of new modules and their design and implementation will be part of this research project.