“(And by that destiny) to perform an act Whereof what's past is prologue; what to come, In yours and my discharge.”
— William Shakespeare, The Tempest, Act II, Scene 1, 253-254
The world is dynamic across all scales of space and time. Events now unfolding in the global environment are responses to trends, inter-annual- to millennial-scale oscillations, feedbacks, and sudden extreme events within the Earth’s climate and geologic systems, not to mention the profound influences of humans; essentially the “ratchet of events” that has brought us to today. Shakespeare’s language captures the reality of global climate and environmental change. “[W]hat’s past is prologue” wraps the present in a shroud of determinism and destiny; the future cannot escape the influence of the past. As the stage is set for future changes, it is critical to understand how the patterns we see today reflect the past so that we may better understand what to expect in the future.
Our research employs paleoecological techniques to gain insight into environmental changes that have taken place over recent centuries to over 10,000 years ago. What we learn improves our understanding of how the Earth’s environment changes over time and can be used to inform planning, conservation, and natural resource management efforts.
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