Chuan-Chou (River) Shen is a geochemist and Distinguished Chair Professor in the Department of Geosciences at National Taiwan University. He has authored numerous articles documenting both modern and paleoclimate changes in ocean environments, and which have made significant contributions to the scientific literature on global climate change. He recently joined UC Press’s open-access journal Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene as an associate editor in the journal’s Ecology and Earth Systems knowledge domain.

UC Press: Welcome to the Elementa editorial team!

Elementa Associate Editor Chuan-Chou (River) Shen

RS: Thanks to Elementa’s Editor-in-Chief Dr. Steven Allison, of the Ecology and Earth Systems domain for inviting me to join this team in January 2022.

UC Press: Of course this isn’t your first involvement with the journal—over the previous couple of years you’ve served as guest editor of the Elementa Special Feature Pan-Pacific Anthropocene. What was it that attracted you to Elementa as the home for this research?

RS: After two preparatory workshops in the summer and fall of 2018, and together with colleagues worldwide, in January, 2019 we launched a new international organization—the Association of Pan-Pacific Anthropocene (APPA)—dedicated to the study of anthropogenic forces on the Pan-Pacific region. Soon after, we organized the first Conference on Pan-Pacific Anthropocene (ConPPA), on May 14-17, 2019, in Taipei. It was during this conference that we decided to publish a special issue. Because Elementa’s Ecology and Earth Systems domain seeks to publish original research on terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems in the context of human impacts on the environment, we believed that Elementa could be an ideal home for this collection. So, I reached out to Dr. Steven Allison and submitted the proposal for our special feature, which we called Pan-Pacific Anthropocene. With help from the Editor-in-Chief, our guest editors, and the journal editorial office, this special feature with 15 articles was published online in 2021.

The first Conference of Pan-Pacific Anthropocene (ConPPA) in Taipei, May 14-17, 2019.

UC Press: Tell us about Pan-Pacific Anthropocene. What was the impetus for this research, and what are some of the key findings?

RS: There is compelling evidence suggesting that humanity’s impact on the Earth has pushed the world into a new geological epoch, the Anthropocene. From the mid-20th century onwards, the accelerating signature of global human consumption can be demarcated by the spread of, for example, plastics, radiogenic isotopes, fly ash, severe environmental pollution, and ecological crisis. With its richness of civilizations, the Pan-Pacific realm has been experiencing especially severe environmental pollution and ecological crisis, associated with swift regional economic development over past decades.

These challenges, including predicting future possible trends and proposing countermeasures for this anthropogenic impact—on the Pan-Pacific region in particular and on Earth in general—brought about the first ConPPA. At this conference we gathered together several groups of scientists working on multiple areas of environmental and earth sciences, including environmental pollution, climate observation and simulation, proxy and historical records, anthropogenic geohazards, topography and geomorphology, biodiversity, archaeology and civilization, marine ecology, and marine policy. The goal of the conference was to provide a platform for the next generation to share scientific knowledge and improve our understanding of anthropogenic impacts on the Pan-Pacific region. And as a result, in the Pan-Pacific Anthropocene Special Feature we present and discuss advances on the status of environmental pollution, the historical record of the Anthropocene, marine proxy records, biodiversity, ecosystem health, and human migrations in the Pan Pacific realm, and propose management strategies towards increasing the environmental sustainability of the Pan-Pacific region.

UC Press: Serving as a guest editor, and now associate editor for Elementa, do you have any recommendations for authors who may be considering submitting to the journal?

RS: Yes, I can make recommendations to potential authors, especially those researching the Pan-Pacific realm. For those who might not be aware, Elementa is a trans-disciplinary, open-access journal published by University of California Press. It has a strong Impact Factor, and is an excellent Q1 journal under the categories of Environmental Sciences (44/274) and Meteorology & Atmospheric Sciences (11/94). Article contributions with the novelty of revealing and answering questions about the impacts of human activities and the interactions between people and nature in Asia and the Pacific Ocean with different viewpoints from archaeology, historical and natural geological archives, and modern instrumental observations, are all welcome. You can consider submitting papers or review articles, or proposing Special Features (special issues) to our journal.

UC Press: Thanks for your contributions to Elementa! We look forward to seeing what comes next from these efforts.

RS: It is my honor to work with colleagues at Elementa. I will do my best as an Associate Editor in the Ecology and Earth Systems knowledge domain.

Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene is a trans-disciplinary, open-access journal committed to the facilitation of collaborative, peer-reviewed research. With the ultimate objective of accelerating scientific solutions to the challenges presented by this era of human impact, it is uniquely structured into distinct knowledge domains, and gives authors the opportunity to publish in one or multiple domains, helping them to present their research and commentary to interested readers from disciplines related to their own.
Impact Factor: 4.569