Dr Daniele Colombaroli

Research interests

  • Environmental change
  • Disturbance ecology
  • Biodiversity of the Past
  • Conservation Palaeoecology
  • Dendroecology

Personal profile

My research lies on the interface between Biogeography, Palaeoecology and Conservation Biology. I’m interested in how the information from past ecosystem changes (related to people, climate and time) allows biological responses under future global changes to be better determined, thus advancing our knowledge on climate impacts, ecological resilience and societal responses in a future warmer world. The geographical areas of my research include biodiversity hotspots and key biogeographical regions for future global changes, such as Equatorial Africa, the Mediterranean Basin, temperate and mountain regions in Europe and North America. The specific proxy data that I use include pollen, charcoal, sedimentological properties and tree ring stable isotopes from high-resolution archives, and covering temporal scales from annual tree rings to the millennial scale of climate variability. I’m interested in the integration of high-precision correlation of different archives, in line with our research effort in the Centre of Quaternary Research.

Selected publications (5)

  • Colombaroli D, Gavin D, Morey, Thorndycraft V (2018) High resolution lake sediment record reveals self-organized criticality in erosion processes regulated by internal feedbacks Earth Surface Processes and Landforms. 10.1002/esp.4383
  • Whitlock C, Colombaroli D, Conedera M, Tinner W (2018) Land-use history as a guide for forest conservation and management. Conservation Biology, 32-1
  • Colombaroli D, Cherubini P, De Ridder M, Saurer, M, Toirambe B, Zweifel N., Beeckman H (2016). Stable carbon and oxygen isotopes in tree rings show physiological responses of Pericopsis elata to precipitation in the Congo Basin. Journal of Tropical Ecology, 32: 213-225.
  • Colombaroli D, Ssemmanda I, Gelorini V, Verschuren D (2014) Contrasting long-term records of biomass burning in wet and dry savannas of equatorial East Africa. Global Change Biology 20(9):2903-2914.
  • Colombaroli D, Gavin DG (2010) Highly episodic fire and erosion regime over the past 2,000 y in the Siskiyou Mountains, Oregon. PNAS 107 (4): 18909-18914.

Research interests (continued)

My past research has explored: 

  • Biogeography and dynamic of plant communities: tracking the expansion/demise of tree species during the Holocene (examples here and here). 
  • Fire in the Anthropocene: the anthropogenic and natural components of fire regimes, and their effects on vegetation composition and structure (here).
  • Tropical Palaeoecology: the dynamic of East African savannas and the use of palaeo-records as “natural experiments” to assess the fire-climate interactions in space and time (here and ICDP Deepchalla).
  • The synergetic interaction among disturbance regimes: past baselines, nonequilibrium landscapes and the emergence of novel disturbances (here and here).
  • The origin of the “iconic” cultural landscapes: the role of people in shaping present Alpine and Mediterranean biodiversity (here and here).
  • Conservation palaeoecology: the application of long-term recorsd for present ecosystem management (here) and the integration of paleoecology-informed community-owned conservation for fire policy (see our @diverse_k initiative here).
  • Dendroecology and dendroclimatology in the Congo Basin: the potential of tree-rings stable isotopes  for reconstructing climate and patch-scale dynamics (here and AFRIFORD Project).

Other work

Since 2014 I’m a member of the Steering Committee of the Global Paleofire Working Group supported by PAGESa Global Research Project of Future Earth. Our working group focuses on building a paleofire scientific community to evaluate the temporal patterns of fire regimes at regional, continental and global scales.


GG2043 - Biogeography

GG3111 - Biodiversity of the Past & Present

GG5235 - Palaeofires

ID: 28585856