By Jann Ingmire
via UChicago News
Current climate models do not accurately account for humans’ role in changing the environment, according to a UChicago-led team of international researchers embarking upon a project to help climate scientists better document land cover and use over the past 10,000 years.
Calling it an “insanely ambitious effort,” Kathleen Morrison, the Neukom Family Professor of Anthropology, is one of the leaders of the LandUse 6K, a study that includes dozens of scholars from around the world. “I think one of the big stories we’re going to find is that there’s a deeper human impact on the environment than what has been previously recognized,” said Morrison.
The five-year project will have two tracks running simultaneously. One group will look at land cover changes across the globe, using pollen analysis as a way of reconstructing the past vegetation to see how forest cover, crops and plants have changed over the entire Holocene, our current geological epoch. The other group, which Morrison will head, is looking at land use data, or how people have used the land. The researchers in Morrison’s group will rely on evidence from archaeology, history and historical geography—social science disciplines that are not often included in climate scientists ’ models and predictions…