Eingeladen von U. Hambach.
Current ecological understanding has recognised that most ecosystems are dynamic; all are subject to ongoing processes of changing climate, disturbances, and many landscapes have been shaped by humans for millennia. With predictions suggesting that climatic variability and human impact will increase over the next 50-100 years, it is essential that we have the capability to understand and model the response of the vegetation. This is especially the case in the natural forests of the Carpathians, many of which maintain large tracts of undisturbed or old-growth forests and a level of biodiversity not seen elsewhere. Because the fossil data are able to record multiple generations of a species through time, they can be used as a surrogate for direct measurement of biotic responses to environmental and disturbance scenarios occurring at different temporal scales (10 to 1000 years).
Here, I review palaeoecological records spanning the last 15000 years from the Carpathian region and stress the importance of using long-term data in understanding contemporary and future biotic responses. Key questions addressed are: i) glacial refugia: identifying species that persisted in the region, the implication of this small localized population survival for postglacial species range shifts and migration rates, and ultimately for estimation of rates of spread of tree species in response to future climate and land use; ii) determination of rates and nature of biodiversity response to climate change through time (diversity, turnover, homogenization); and (iii) how the long-term records can be used in the biodiversity management and conservation of current and future biodiversity in this region (baselines, rates of recovery, potential thresholds, restoration strategy).
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