The third issue of the first volume (2018) of the open-access journal Quaternary has been released. Clich here to see the contents in the official journal webpage or download the Table of Contents in pdf.
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In the coming years, the Anthropocene Working Group (AWG) will submit its proposal on the ‘Anthropocene’ as a new geological epoch to the International Commission on Stratigraphy (ICS). If approved, the proposal will be send to the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS) for ratification. If ratified, the current Holocene epoch will be officially terminated. The ‘Anthropocene’ is a broadly used term and concept and, for many, its official acceptance is only a matter of time. However, the AWG proposal, in its present state, seems to not fully meet the ICS requirements for a new geological epoch.
In a recent paper published in Quaternary, I ask what could happen if the current ‘Anthropocene’ proposal is not formalised by the ICS/IUGS. The possible stratigraphic alternatives are evaluated on the basis of the more recent literature and the personal opinions of distinguished AWG and ICS members. The eventual impact on environmental sciences and on non-scientific sectors, where the ‘Anthropocene’ seems already firmly rooted and de facto accepted as a new geological epoch, are also discussed.
Rull, V. 2018. What if the ‘Anthropocene’ is not formalized as a new geological series/epoch? Quaternary, 1: 24, doi 10.3390/quat1030024.
The second issue the recently created open-access jorunal Quaternary has just been released. This issue contains ten papers: an editorial on Quaternary highlights, a paleoinsight and eight research papers. Five of these research papers belong to the special issue ‘Advances in Quaternary Studies: the Contribution of the Mammalian Fossil Record‘ and three are part of the special issue entitled ‘Special External Effects on Fluvial System Evolution‘.
The journal covers all aspects of Quaternary science, embracing the whole range of scientific fields related to geological, geographical, biological, physical, chemical, environmental and human sciences. There are no limits on space, figures and color (see the author’s instructions). More details are available in the journal website, where the inaugural editorial paper can be read and downloaded.
The journal Quaternary launches a new special issue entitled “Past plant diversity changes” edited by Laura Parducci (Uppsala University, Sweden), Rachid Cheddadi (Université de Montepellier, France) and Keith Bennett (University of St. Andrews, UK). This Special Issue stems from the Conference on Past Plant Diversity Changes held in October 2018 in Rabat, Morocco and aims to examine the relationship between past environmental changes and their impacts on different aspects of plants species diversity during the glacial-interglacial climate changes of the Quaternary.
Natural past climate trends have driven major ecosystem changes and have shaped species distributions across the planet. Modern and future changes in diversity will be driven by complex interactions between human activities and the global climate system. In this modern context, plant species have to evolve locally or migrate to more suitable habitats. The past can provide us with fascinating information on how species reacted to different climatic situations, which could enlighten us about how to successfully manage future plant species diversity.
Contributions exploring the relationship between past environmental changes (including climate) and species distributions, their long-term survival and persistence in macro and microrefugia during climatically unfavorable time periods, their migration capacity and rates to recolonize available areas, their genetic diversity, and the lessons we can draw from the past to help conserving plant species are welcome.
Submissions are open. If you like to submit a manuscript to this special issue click here. The deadline is April 15, 2019.
After more than three decades of paleoecological research, the potential role of climatic and anthropogenic drivers on Easter Island’s ecological and cultural change is still under discussion.
A new eBook published by Frontiers (Lausane, Switzerland) provides a synthetic view of the topic using evidence from different research fields such as paleoecology, archaeology, history and molecular phylogenetics. A holistic approach is provided at the end to combine the results of these research fields into a comprehensive framework able to account for most of the available multidisciplinary evidence.
The eBook is a Research Topic of the journal Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution (section Paleoecology) and is edited by V. Rull and S. Giralt. It is subdivided into four sections: (i) paleoecological overview, (ii) human colonization, (iii) collapse or resilience? and (iv) holistic approach, and contains 10 papers by a total of 42 authors.
This eBook is dedicated to the memory of John R. Flenley, the pioneer of paleoecological study of Easter Island, who passed away on June 22, 2018, and can be freely downloaded in the Research Topic website.
Reference: Rull, V. & Giralt, S. (eds). 2018. Paleoecology of Easter Island: Natural and Anthropogenic Drivers of Ecological Change. Frontiers Research Topics, Lausane. ISBN 978-2-88945-562-1. Download the eBook
Although the interpretation of Quaternary records of interrelated environmental–ecological–human processes is necessarily complex, it is often addressed using too-simple deterministic approaches. My latest paper on the subject suggests a holistic framework called EHLFS (Environmental–Human–Landscape Feedbacks and Synergies) to tackle Quaternary complexity.
The EHLFS scheme is a multiple-working-hypotheses framework, able to account for the particular nature of Quaternary research, and is used in combination with the strong inference method of hypothesis testing. The resulting system is called the strong fuzzy EHLFS approach. This approach is explained in some detail and compared with the more extended simplistic determinisms—namely the environmental determinism and the human determinism—as well as with dual determinisms or deterministic approaches based on two contrasting and apparently contradictory and excluding hypotheses or theories. The application of the strong EHLFS methodology is illustrated using the Late Holocene ecological and cultural history of Easter Island since its initial human settlement, a topic that has traditionally been addressed using simplistic and dual deterministic approaches. The strong fuzzy EHLFS approach seems to be a robust framework to address past complex issues where environment, humans and landscape interact, as well as an open system able to encompass new challenging evidence and thorough changes in fundamental research questions.
Rull, V. 2018. Strong Fuzzy EHLFS: A General Conceptual Framework to Address Past Records of Environmental, Ecological and Cultural Change. Quaternary, 1: 10, doi 10.3390/quat1020010.