Knowledge about the historical development of plant communities is highly important for understanding the present-day patterns in community structure and in species diversity. Understanding the long-term community development is also a key issue for planning the protection of natural and semi-natural communities in present-day, human-dominated landscapes. Fossil pollen profiles from lake and mire deposits can be used to reconstruct changes in vegetation composition and in plant species diversity and to evaluate the extent and type of land-use over several thousands of years. Increasing numbers of high-quality pollen records that are available today, allow the compilation of large regional palynological datasets. Analyzing changes in vegetation structure and in richness patterns across several pollen sites for subsequent time-periods will allow to reconstruct different pathways of historical vegetation development and to relate the historical and present-day patterns in vegetation and species diversity. Because Estonia has many suitable mires and lakes for pollen profiles and long tradition of palynological analyses, there are about 400 Holocene pollen diagrams available from different landscape regions today. The aim of the present post-doctoral project is to combine ecological and palaeoecological knowledge and methods for examining the relationships between historical and present-day vegetation. The objectives are: (i) to explore the potential of fossil pollen data to describe the historical development of plant communities at the regional scale; (ii) to explore the associations between present-day species richness and palynological richness; (iii) to relate patterns of palynological richness to different environmental variables and indicators of anthropogenic influence; (iv) to evaluate existing biodiversity conservation policies in the light of knowledge about plant community development.