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© 2020 Elsevier Ltd A high-resolution fire history in the Yangtze River Basin over the past 7.0 ka BP is reconstructed based on the proxy of black carbon of sediment core ECMZ on the continental shelf of the East China Sea in order to reveal the interactions among fire, climate, vegetation and human activity on a regional scale. A comparison of fire activity with climatic and vegetation proxies suggests that changes in fire activity prior to 3.0 ka BP on both millennial- and centennial-timescales were closely related to variations in temperature and precipitation, with more fire during warm and humid periods, suggesting climatic control on regional fire activities. In contrast, the significant decoupling between fire and climate on multi-timescales since ∼3.0 ka BP implies increasing anthropogenic impact on regional fire activity. There is also a distinct response of fire activity to human disturbance at different time scales. Long-term reduction in regional fire activity since ∼3.0 ka BP was caused by a general decrease in forest cover with increasing human activity while short-term (centennial-timescale) enhancement in biomass burning usually coincides with periods characterized by increasing human activity associated with population migration or technological advances.

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Quaternary Science Reviews