Human-Biodiversity Interactions through time in the Indo-Pacific
Palaeoworks people involved in the project
The Research School of Asia and the Pacific (RSAP) at the Australian National University is engaged in ongoing analysis of long-term ecosystem change within key biodiversity hotspots of the Australia, Asia and the Pacific and Indian Ocean. Currently we are developing a number of related projects focussed on our understanding of the nature of biodiversity change over time scales of decades to millennia within key Biodiversity Hotspots in the Indo-Pacific region.
These projects use palaeoecological approaches to reconstruct vegetation change through time and are developing records at decadal resolution in order to address questions relevant to not only the life span of many species represented within these hotspots but also the people who exploit the resources found within these hotspots. The regions under investigation are under pressure from a range of human resource exploitation (Fig. 1) from ancient forest clearance for agriculture to recent deforestation for commercial logging and mining. The collaboration between palaeoecologists and archaeologists within the School has also fostered an interest in the long-term interactions between humans and the diverse ecosystems upon which they derive their livelihoods.
Transfer of project outcomes to key organisations involved in on-the-ground management of these biodiversity hotspots (e.g. Wildlife Conservation Society, Galapagos National Parks) provides an avenue to influence conservation strategies with these regions.
Fig. 1. Key Biodiversity hotspots within areas considered by Myers et al. (2000) to be highly vulnerable (red). Active project underway in PalaeoWorks (blue dot).
Myers, N. Mittermeier, R.A., Mittermeier, C.G., da Fonseca, G.A.B., and Kent, J. (2000) Biodiversity hotspots for conservation priorities. Nature 403, 853 – 858.
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