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LandCover6k workshop: Pollen based estimates of past land cover in South and Southeast Asia

Pondicherry, PY, India
Workshop report
Contact person
Anupama Krishnamurthy
E-Mail address
Working groups
Meeting Category

PAGES' LandCover6k working group will hold a workshop, titled "Pollen based estimates of past land cover in South and Southeast Asia: A first evaluation of results, methods and new approaches in view of climate (and paleoclimate) models incorporating the monsoon system", from 11-14 September 2019 in Pondicherry, India.


Conference Hall, French Institute of Pondicherry, Pondicherry.


Workshop dates 11-14 September 2019, with arrival on 10 September and departure on 15 September. This workshop will be limited to 25-30 invited participants, mainly from LandCover6k (Workpackages LC6, LU6 but also potentially open to especially, LC 9, LC8 & LC7), archeologists and archeobotanists and the climate (paleoclimate) modelling communities, especially regional scale modelling.

However, 5-6 seats will be open to interested scientists, especially ECRs from South Asia and ECRs working on South Asia to apply to attend.


The workshop will primarily be a discussion workshop where we hope to have several presentations of results on both Relative Pollen Productivities (RPPs) for new (especially, tropical) taxa and pollen based estimates of landcover from different climatic regimes within the monsoon dominated South and Southeast Asian region. Overview presentations during the first and last sessions will be recorded for wider dissemination. Provisions will be made for scientists to join these parts and other specific parts of the workshop virtually, if there is an interest in this.

Depending on the response received a few special lectures from eminent scientists working on regional archeology and modelling current monsoon dynamics will be organized. Organization of the workshop in India will provide better opportunities for more participation from developing countries.

One of the best places to study prehistoric human impacts on land cover is the South and Southeast Asian region, given its long history of occupation by humans and their prehistoric ancestors. Dominated by the monsoon, it has a rich diversity of climate, topography, relief and soils resulting in equally diverse plant or land cover, ranging from coastal mangroves to wet evergreen rainforests to temperate high altitude forests in the Himalayan ranges. Many of these (natural) plant habitats, even those remote or inaccesible were inhabited at some point of time. Thus the story of the past land cover, especially during much of the Holocene, is as much a story of human impacts as it is a story of adaptation. Given the diversity of climate regimes across this region, it is a powerful natural observatory for lessons (of adaptation) going into the future.

Although pollen remains one of the best evidences of past land cover, the very diversity of climate and landform in this region provides for challenges in the standard approaches and methodologies adapted thus far; particularly in Europe, where the ERV, REVEALS and LOVE models are widely applied to obtain quantitative pollen based land cover reconstructions that provide a powerful basis for the modelling community to test quantitatively, the impacts of land cover and land use in driving climate feedbacks and the global carbon cycle. Though challenging, there are by now promising results coming from diverse sites in this region and this workshop is intended as a platform to bring together ECRs and other scientists from the region to sit together with archeologists, archeobotanists and the regional modelling community on the one hand and some of the pioneers of the main methods of LandCover6k on the other.

The workshop will start a synthesis of the newly available RPPs for the region, present completed REVEALS reconstructions and help work together with ongoing reconstructions as both the application of this approach and results from the same are in progress and in several case, require, as stated in the title of the workshop, new approaches. At least one joint paper is envisaged.

Financial support

Some PAGES funding has been provided to allow the participation of some early-career researchers and scientists from less-favored countries. Details on how to apply will be made available as soon as possible.


All places have been filled.

Further information

Contact workshop organizer Anupama Krishnamurthy: (anupama[dot]k[at]ifpindia[dot]org)

Go to the official workshop website: