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Climate change is an issue at the center of academic research and political debate. One of the less appreciated and understood aspects of climate science is the role of climate as a 'controller' of long-term changes in human population, and, in turn, how changes in human demography effect climate because demography also effects how individuals choose to modify the earth's biophysical systems to suit their needs.  The objective of our project is to study the long-term interaction between climate, human population growth or decline and food systems to understand the coevolution of human systems and the earth's biophysical systems. 
Our work, thus, contributes to understanding the food-climate-population nexus.  A better understanding of this nexus is a significant research issue in a world where climate is changing, stressing traditional food systems; populations are growing,

stressing food stystems; and biological diversity is in rapid decline, potentially weakening the adaptive capacity of food systems.  Theory that explains the the coevolution of human food systems, population and climate over the long-term is important for addressing these policy issues in the contemporary world.  To contribute to understanding the coevolution of climate, population and food systems, we will answer two questions: (i) How does the interaction of climate, human demography and ecosystem diversity effect the selective pressure put on individuals to modify how they produce food and, thus, modify ecosystems? (ii) What consequences do changes in human strategies for exploiting ecosystems have for ecological diversity and the robustness of ecosystems and food systems to future changes in climate and human population?

Workshop to be held in Logan, UT November 8-11, 2016   



  1. Synthesize existing paleo-climate data and archeological data in the study regions represented by the participants
  2. Develop a framework to compare the interaction of climate, ecosystem diversity and changes in human population and food production

The workshop will be organized over 5 days around three activities: Short-Courses, data synthesis, and writing. The short-courses will take place on the first day and will introduce the interdisciplinary frameworks of resilience thinking and coupled infrastructure systems. Data synthesis will take place on the 2nd and 3rd days. We will collate all existing data on paleoclimate, demography and human diet in our study regions. On the 4th and 5th days we will write a synthetic document that compares the demographic responses of humans to climate change in our cases studies within a resilience or coupled infrastructure systems framework. A significant component of this document will be an outline or research design to move forward with inter-regional comparisons.

Application Deadlines & Requirements:

There are a limited number of spaces available, with some funds available for travel and lodging for early career scientists and/or scientists from developing countries.

All interested in the workshop are invited to apply to attend.  To apply please email Dr. Jacob Freeman at with your name, position, affiliation and a short letter of intent (30 lines) explaining why you would like to attend the workshop, and what you hope to contribute to the effort. Please note whether you will need funding support to attend the workshop.