PEOPLE 3000: Understanding long-term human-environment feedback loops through the integration of archaeology, paleoclimate and ecological models

25.03 - 26.03.2021  
Contact person:
Eugenia Gayo, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The PalEOclimate and the PeopLing of the Earth (PEOPLE 3000) working group will hold the online workshop "Understanding long-term human-environment feedback loops through the integration of archaeology, paleoclimate and ecological models" from 25-26 March 2021.

The workshop will run for three hours each day, from 11:00-14:00 UTC.


A follow-up in-person meeting is planned to be held in Arica, Chile, in September or October 2021. More information will be provided as soon as possible.

This meeting was originally planned for May 2020 then rescheduled to 31 August to 5 September 2020 due to coronavirus disruptions.

It is open not only for PEOPLE 3000 members, but also other researchers who are interested to participate and collaborate with data and case studies that answer the main question of this workshop.


The PEOPLE 3000 working group (WG) focuses on integrating archaeological and paleoecological data into a mathematical framework for understanding how co-evolving human societies and ecosystems successfully cope with the interrelated forces of population growth, increasing social complexity and climate change, and why some societies subsequently collapse and/or reorganize.

This workshop builds from our three previous PAGES co-funded workshops, "The Coevolution of Climate, Population, and Food Systems in North and South America" (November 2016), "Social Complexity and Climate Change, and Why Societies Fail to Cope with these Interrelated Forces and Collapse/Reorganize" (May 2018), and "Human Paleo-biogeography and the Synchrony of Social-Ecological Systems on Earth" (May 2019).

This workshop will integrate paleoecological datasets with global radiocarbon datasets under a common mathematical ecological theory and develop synergies with PAGES' LandCover6k WG.

We have now amassed a global database of 130,000 radiocarbon ages, and our workshop will integrate these data with paleoenvironmental datasets produced/refined by the PEOPLE 3000 project.

By integrating these datasets, we will ask: Does human population size and/or rates of change better correlate with climate driven changes in ecosystem structure, diversity or functionality? This question grounds our WG goal to focus beyond searching for simple correlations between human population change and climate change towards explanations based on climate-ecosystem-population feedback processes.

Such a perspective is key for comparing long-term growth rates for past populations from North and South America, Northern Africa, East Asia, and Europe and relate such trends with anthropogenic land-use changes.

This workshop builds upon recent articles from the PEOPLE 3000 WG such as "Development and testing of scenarios for implementing Holocene LULC in Earth System Model Experiments" (Harrison et al. 2019), "Geohistorical records of the Anthropocene in Chile" (Gayo et al. 2019), "Long-term records partly support the tents of climate-smart agriculture" (Freeman et al. in prep) and "The Optimal Species Richness Environments for Human Populations" (Freeman et al. accepted pending minor revisions).

All of these outputs highlight how our working group is producing deliverables that bridge archaeological and paleoenvironmental data to develop an interdisciplinary perspective – theoretical and methodological – on the long-term feedback loops generated by the interactions across social and natural systems.

Tentative program

Day 1

5 mins: Welcome
20 mins: Data for changes in sizes and/or growth rates (Darcy Bird)
20 mins: Putting population dynamics hypothesis to the test using ecological models (Mauricio Lima)
20 mins: Landcover6k presentation (Marc Vander Linden)
20 mins: Estimating Resilence in prehistoric Societies (Jacob Freeman)
5 mins: Break
20 mins: Paleoview (to be confirmed)
20 mins: Paleoclimate model-data comparisons and past demographic change: an example from the Atacama (Claudio Latorre)
20 mins: Database presentation (to be confirmed)
30 mins: Short 3-min presentations for virtual flash posters

Day 2

5 mins: Welcome
85 mins: Breakout session 1: Data (Jacob Freeman and Eugenia Gayo).
85 mins: Breakout sesion 2: Mathemathical interphase (Erick Robinson and Mauricio Lima).
30mins: Final comments (Claudio Latorre).

Workshop goals

1. Develop a fully usable global archaeological radiocarbon database.
2. Generate a mathematical interphase using theoretical ecology models that integrate the global archaeological radiocarbon dataset with paleoenvironmental data (climate, land-use, biodiversity).
3. Write a review paper on "Trends in global human population growth and land-use during the Holocene".

Abstract submission

The call for abstracts - flash poster presentations for three minutes - closes 25 February 2021.

Please provide a short title (15 words), full first and family names for authors, affiliations, and abstract text (limited to 350 words).

All abstracts should be submitted in English and emailed to Eugenia Gayo, using the email subject line "P3K workshop abstract": This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Registration closes 20 March 2021. You can attend the meeting without submitting an abstract.

To register, email Eugenia Gayo (different email address: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) using the email subject line "P3K workshop registration".


This workshop will focus on integrating data and approaches developed in the synergy with the LandCover6k working group of PAGES as well as with different ECRs who have recently joined the PEOPLE 3000 project. We will be able to contextualize our fresh methodological and theoretical frameworks at different spatial scales (from supra-regional to global scale). Given that this is the last year of our WG before synthesis, the workshop will provide the necessary opportunities to channel efforts into summary products as well as provide new opportunities for continuing our collaborative efforts.

Further information

Contact workshop organizer Eugenia Gayo, CAPES-UC: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Find out more about the in-person workshop in Chile in September or October 2021.