Special Issue "Socio-Economic and Demographic Impacts of Climate Change from Pre-Historic to Modern Times"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Air, Climate Change and Sustainability".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 March 2022.

Special Issue Editors

Prof. Dr. Harry F. Lee
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Geography and Resource Management, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, China
Interests: socio-economic and demographic impacts of climate change in ancient and recent human history; underlying mechanisms of climatic extremes; historical epidemiology; environmental perceptions and sustainability
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals
Prof. Dr. Xin JIA
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
School of Geography, Nanjing Normal University, Nanjing 210023, China
Interests: bioarchaeology; environmental archaeology; archaeobotany; agricultural archaeology; ethnogeography

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

We sincerely invite researchers to contribute original research articles dealing with the socio-economic and demographic impacts of climate change in pre-historic, historical, and modern times, which is a topic focusing on human–environment interactions. The related knowledge may have important implications for global and regional sustainability. This Special Issue is going to serve as an interdisciplinary platform for collecting different views and facilitating a constructive debate about the ways in which human–environment interactions can be generalized, contextualized, or even denied—a philosophical issue pertinent to the theoretical underpinnings of environmental humanities. To further facilitate the debate about global and regional sustainability from different perspectives, scholars who agree on the significant impact of climate change on human societies, or who are skeptical about this relationship, are welcome to contribute their related works to this Special Issue. Besides, this Special Issue will publish review articles that help to identify possible future research directions. Topics of interest include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • How and to what extent human societies are (or are not) affected by climate change or climatic extremes;
  • The use of empirical archaeological/historical data in investigating human–environment interactions;
  • Case studies in illustrating human–environment interactions;
  • The influence of spatio-temporal scale, study period, and study area on human–environment interactions;
  • Philosophical discussion about human–environment interactions.

Prof. Dr. Harry F. Lee
Prof. Dr. Xin JIA
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1900 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • Climate change
  • Climatic extremes
  • Human–environment interaction
  • Adaptation to climate change
  • Climate resilience
  • Archaeology
  • History
  • Modern times

Published Papers (1 paper)

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The History and Driving Force for Prehistoric Human Expansion Upward to the Hinterland of the Tibetan Plateau Post–Last Glacial Maximum
Sustainability 2021, 13(13), 7065; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/su13137065 - 23 Jun 2021
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The timing and motivation of prehistoric human expansion into the hinterland of the Tibetan Plateau (TP) is a widely debated scientific issue. Recent archaeological studies have brought forward predictions of the earliest human occupation of the TP to the late–Middle Pleistocene. However, massive [...] Read more.
The timing and motivation of prehistoric human expansion into the hinterland of the Tibetan Plateau (TP) is a widely debated scientific issue. Recent archaeological studies have brought forward predictions of the earliest human occupation of the TP to the late–Middle Pleistocene. However, massive human occupation of the TP did not appear until the termination of the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM). The spatio-temporal distribution of prehistoric hunter-gatherers on the TP varies significantly before the permanent occupation after 3600 BP (before present). Here, we report on environmental-archaeological evidence from the Canxionggashuo (CXGS) site in Yushu Prefecture, which provides information that is key to understanding the dynamics of post-LGM human occupation on the TP. Radiocarbon dating has revealed two occupation periods of the CXGS site at 8600–7100 cal (calibrated years) BP and 2400–2100 cal BP. The charcoal concentration in cultural layers correlates well with paleo–human activities. Hunter-gatherers expanded westwards from the northeastern margin of the TP to the hinterland of the TP during the warming period of the early–middle Holocene (~11,500–6000 BP). However, these groups retreated during the middle–late Holocene (~6000–3600 BP) under a cooling-drying climate. Prehistoric humans finally occupied the hinterland of the TP permanently after 3600 BP, with an enhanced cold-adaptive lifestyle, although the climate was still deteriorating. Full article
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