Leaders of the PAGES Focus 5 programme ‘Past Ecosystem Processes and Human–Environment Interactions’ identify key issues for research on human–environment interactions for wider discussion. These include the need for long-term perspectives, the opportunities for maximising palaeoenvironmental research, the need for integration and regionalisation and the challenge of developing dynamic simulation models. A new organisational matrix for regional studies is outlined, based on a series of zonal/azonal regions and on the degree of human impact. Future priorities for palaeoenvironmental research include new studies in degraded human-dominated landscapes, highly-valued ecosystems and sites relevant to other IGBP Core Projects. Simulation of future human–environment interactions using modelling approaches that have been tested against long records lags behind global climate modelling, but cellular approaches for biogeophysical and multi-agent systems show promise.
Keywords: Regionalisation - Integration - Simulation - Palaeoenvironmental studies - PAGES Focus 5