Dr Encarni Montoya

Lecturer Geography and Planning


Personal Statement

I work in the palaeoecology of Neotropical ecosystems mainly focused on Late Glacial to present-day environmental change. My research is related to the vegetation dynamics in the long-term and its response to environmental drives such as climate, natural hazards (volcanic activity) or human occupation. For this purpose, I analyse a wide range of biological proxies preserved in sedimentary archives such as lakes or peat bogs, mainly pollen, charcoal particles and non-pollen palynomorphs (complemented with data from other disciplines including biogeography, archaeology and botany). Specifically, main topics of my research are:
a) Past vegetation responses to environmental change
b) Non-anthropogenic versus anthropogenic causes of palaeoecological change
c) Quaternary in the Neotropics
d) Tropical ecology and palaeoecology
e) Global change from a palaeoclimatic perspective
f) Socio-ecological systems response to natural hazards and climate change

The use of long-term perspectives from the past is essential to develop new understandings of current and future ecological processes. Moreover, I am particularly concerned about the socioeconomic impacts of climatic change, which in the Neotropics could reach catastrophic levels. I love the utility of palaeoecology not only as a tool for past landscape reconstructions, but also for management and conservation purposes that could be implemented in the use of taxa with economic value, or in facing natural hazards.