Journal of Paleolimnology

, Volume 49, Issue 3, pp 537–545 | Cite as

Why Future Earth needs lake sediment studies

  • John A. DearingEmail author
Original paper


The new Future Earth Framework and International Council of Science Grand Challenges highlight the need to combine environmental and complexity sciences. An improved understanding of trajectories, interactions, fast and slow processes, alternate steady states and thresholds in key natural and social phenomena are vital to the design of sustainable management strategies. Lake sediment records can provide highly resolved time-series of data that give essential long term perspectives for complex socio-ecological systems, especially at regional scales. This means that these records have important roles in addressing the Future Earth agenda, especially for Forecasting, Observing and Confining environmental change within the proposed interdisciplinary themes of Dynamic Planet and Global Development.


Sustainability Complex socio-ecological systems Lake sediments 



It is a great pleasure to contribute a paper to this Special Issue. Since the 1970s, Rick has been an ever supportive and inspirational friend and colleague. I acknowledge financial support from the Programme Framework Grant ‘Poverty and ecology: developing a new evolutionary approach’ (NERC project no. NE/I002960/1), funded by the Ecosystem Services for Poverty Alleviation Programme (ESPA). The ESPA programme is funded by the Department for International Development (DFID), the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) and the Natural Environment Research Council (NERC). This is a Sustainability Science at Southampton publication.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Palaeoecology Laboratory (PLUS), Geography and EnvironmentUniversity of SouthamptonSouthamptonUK

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