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  1. The response of the terrestrial biosphere to warming remains one of the most poorly understood and quantified aspects of the climate system. One way to test the behavior of the Earth system in warm climate states is to examine the geological record. The abundance, distribution, and/or isotopic composition of source-specific organic molecules (biomarkers) have been used to reconstruct terrestrial paleoenvironmental change over a range of geological timescales. Here, we review new or recently improved biomarker approaches for reconstructing ( a) physical climate variables (land temperature, rainfall), ( b) ecosystem state variables (vegetation, fire regime), and ( c) biogeochemical variables (soil residence time, methane cycling). This review encompasses a range of key compound classes (e.g., lipids, lignin, and carbohydrates). In each section, we explore the concept behind key biomarker approaches and discuss their successes as paleoenvironmental indicators. We emphasize that analyzing several biomarkers in tandem can provide unique insights into the Earth system. ▪ Biomarkers can be used to reconstruct terrestrial environmental change over a range of geological timescales. ▪ Analyzing several biomarkers in tandem can provide unique insights into the Earth system. Expected final online publication date for the Annual Review of Earth and Planetary Sciences, Volume 50 is May 2022. Please see http://www.annualreviews.org/page/journal/pubdates for revised estimates. 
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