The journal Quaternary launches a new special issue entitled “Appying the Quaternary in Africa: the role of the past in supporting the future” edited by Robert Marchant (University of York, UK), Lindsey Gillson (University of Cape Town, South Africa) and Stephen M. Rucina (National Museum of Kenya). Africa, more than many continents, is highly reliant on the natural capital and resources for underpinning many national economies. Climate change, and how this will impact on ecosystems, is highly uncertain, likewise, the associated impacts on biodiversity, protected areas and socioeconomic benefits are largely unknown. One of the key findings from Quaternary science has been the documentation of large and rapid fluctuations in wetlands and lakes, driven by regional hydrological variability. This climatic variability has had massive impacts on water and grazing refuges during periods of drought, and is predicted to do so in the future, as pressures on these natural resources intensify due to fragmentation and increasing human populations.
As these pressures continue to intensify and modify natural resources, there is a need for policies and practice to promote successful adaptation strategies. Before this can occur, an appreciation is needed about how people perceive climate change, their current adaptation measures, and other factors that may influence decisions to adapt current practices. Again, salutary lessons can be learned from a historical perspective and longer-term Quaternary perspective. Meeting, and addressing, the challenges that African ecosystems face in a world of rising populations makes the need to understand human-environment interactions (past, present and future) more pressing, particularly because it is only through people—from local communities to policy makers—that a sustainable mode of human-environment interaction will be desired, implemented and hopefully achieved.
This Special Issue welcomes papers from a wide range of disciplines on how a Quaternary perspective on ecosystem and environmental change can be used to assess the challenges to future management of natural capital and natural resources.
Submissions are open. If you like to submit a manuscript to this special issue click here. The deadline is December 31, 2018.