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Research data . Other dataset type . Dataset . 2016

LPJ-LMfire simulations for Europe for the Last Glacial Maximum and preindustrial control, link to NetCDF files, supplement to: Kaplan, Jed O; Pfeiffer, Mirjam; Kolen, Jan C A; Davis, Basil A S (2016): Large Scale Anthropogenic Reduction of Forest Cover in Last Glacial Maximum Europe. PLoS ONE, 11(11), e0166726

Kaplan, Jed O; Pfeiffer, Mirjam; Kolen, Jan C A; Davis, Basil A S;
Open Access
Published: 01 Jan 2016
Publisher: PANGAEA - Data Publisher for Earth & Environmental Science
This data sets contains LPJ-LMfire dynamic global vegetation model output covering Europe and the Mediterranean for the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM; 21 ka) and for a preindustrial control simulation (20th century detrended climate). The NetCDF data files are time averages of the final 30 years of the model simulation. Each NetCDF file contains four or five variables: fractional cover of 9 plant functional types (PFTs; cover), total fractional coverage of trees (treecover), population density of hunter-gatherers (foragerPD; only for the "people" simulations), fraction of the gridcell burned on 30-year average (burnedf), and vegetation net primary productivity (NPP). The model spatial resolution is 0.5-degrees For the LGM simulations, LPJ-LMfire was driven by the PMIP3 suite of eight GCMs for which LGM climate simulations were available. Also provided in this archive is the result of an LPJ-LMfire run that was forced by the average climate of all GCMs (the "GCM-mean" files), and the average of each of the individual LPJ-LMfire runs over the eight LGM scenarios individually (the "LPJ-mean" files). The model simulations are provided that include the influence of human presence on the landscape (the "people" files), and in a "world without humans" scenario (the "natural" files). Finally this archive contains the preindustrial reference simulation with and without human influence ("PI_reference_people" and "PI_reference_nat", respectively). There are therefore 22 NetCDF files in this archive: 8 each of LGM simulations with and without people (total 16) and the "GCM mean" simulation (2 files) and the "LPJ mean" aggregate (2 files), and finally the two preindustrial "control" simulations ("PI"), with and without humans (2 files). In addition to the LPJ-LMfire model output (NetCDF files), this archive also contains a table of arboreal pollen percent calculated from pollen samples dated to the LGM at sites throughout (lgmAP.txt), and a table containing the location of archaeological sites dated to the LGM (LGM_archaeological_site_locations.txt).
Reconstructions of the vegetation of Europe during the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) are an enigma. Pollen-based analyses have suggested that Europe was largely covered by steppe and tundra, and forests persisted only in small refugia. Climate-vegetation model simulations on the other hand have consistently suggested that broad areas of Europe would have been suitable for forest, even in the depths of the last glaciation. Here we reconcile models with data by demonstrating that the highly mobile groups of hunter-gatherers that inhabited Europe at the LGM could have substantially reduced forest cover through the ignition of wildfires. Similar to hunter-gatherers of the more recent past, Upper Paleolithic humans were masters of the use of fire, and preferred inhabiting semi-open landscapes to facilitate foraging, hunting and travel. Incorporating human agency into a dynamic vegetation-fire model and simulating forest cover shows that even small increases in wildfire frequency over natural background levels resulted in large changes in the forested area of Europe, in part because trees were already stressed by low atmospheric CO2 concentrations and the cold, dry, and highly variable climate. Our results suggest that the impact of humans on the glacial landscape of Europe may be one of the earliest large-scale anthropogenic modifications of the earth system.
Funded by
Sustainable futures for Europe’s HERitage in CULtural landscapES: Tools for understanding, managing, and protecting landscape functions and values
  • Funder: European Commission (EC)
  • Project Code: 603447
  • Funding stream: FP7 | SP1 | ENV
SNSF| COEVOLVE: Anthropogenic Interaction with the Earth System Over the Holocene
  • Funder: Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF)
  • Project Code: PP00P2_139193
  • Funding stream: Careers | SNSF Professorships
From Forest to Farmland and Meadow to Metropolis: What Role for Humans in Explaining the Enigma of Holocene CO2 and Methane Concentrations?
  • Funder: European Commission (EC)
  • Project Code: 313797
  • Funding stream: FP7 | SP2 | ERC