Recent Publications

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Climate change stimulated agricultural innovation and exchange across Asia

Impact:
Throughout time, our models demonstrate that humans across Asia increased their resilience to growing levels of crop failure throughout the late Holocene not only through crop diversification, increased storage, and redistribution but also through economic specialization and extensive strategies such as pastoralism. Trade and mechanisms, such as the development of the Grand Canal that moved crops from areas more suitable for production to areas where the probability of failure was high, also increased during this period of time. Our models demonstrate that changes in temperature throughout the Holocene did not affect all areas of Asia equally. Humans experienced changes in climate locally through variance in their staple crop returns and changes in the landscape surrounding them. Crop niche models allow us to move beyond hemispheric estimates of climatic impacts to scales that mattered to ancient farmers and can thus help archaeologists situate the culturally resilient strategies they developed in the climatic context in which they took place.

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