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Title: Palaeoenvironmental changes in southern Patagonia during the Late-glacial and the Holocene : implications for forest establishment and climate reconstructions
Author: Mansilla, Claudia A.
ISNI:       0000 0004 5357 2192
Awarding Body: University of Stirling
Current Institution: University of Stirling
Date of Award: 2015
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Three continuous terrestrial high-resolution palaeoenvironmental records for the Late-glacial and the Holocene have been reconstructed for different ecosystems in Fuego-Patagonia on a longitudinal transect at latitude 53°S. The records describe the nature and extent of environmental and climatic changes inferred from palynological evidence supported by lithostratigraphy, tephrochronology and radiocarbon dating. The environmental changes recorded at the three sites displays a significant degree of synchrony in response to similar large-scale climatic changes. Clear stratigraphical evidence alongside the pollen record indicates a shift to warmer interstadial conditions between c. 14,800 Cal yr BP and 14,400 Cal yrs BP. During the period coeval with ACR the vegetation was dominated by cold resistant dry land herbs such as Poaceae, Asteraceae (Suf. Asteroideae) and Acaena, by c. 13,200 Cal yr BP the vegetation changed from the dominance of cold resistant dry land herbs towards more mesic conditions and the expansion of steppe dominated by Poaceae with patches of Nothofagus forest. The establishment of the forest and an eastward shift of the forest-steppe ecotone by c. 12,500 Cal yr BP from which a gradual shift from colder to warmer conditions and the relatively stronger influences of the SSWs is inferred. The sequence of Late-glacial environmental changes places Fuego-Patagonia within the new palaeoecological data provided by this study includes “the earliest” evidence for the establishment of subantarctic Nothofagus forest during the LGIT in Fuego-Patagonia. During the Early-Holocene two major phases of Nothofagus forest expansion were registered between c. 11,700 - 10,500 Cal yr BP and c. 9,500 - 8,200 Cal yr BP. These intervals of expansion of Nothofagus forest are separated by an interval of forest contraction in response to lower effective moisture between c. 10,500 - 9,500 Cal yr BP. An intense arid phase is inferred between c. 8,250 Cal yr BP and 6,800 Cal yr BP and probably leading to an increase in the amount of dry fuel available during the mid-Holocene in Fuego-Patagonia leading to the highest fire activity promoted by very weak SSWs at this time. The later Holocene was characterised by an increase in humidity and an inferred intensification of the SSWs.
Supervisor: McCulloch, Robert D.; Tisdall, Eileen W. Sponsor: Comisión Nacional de Investigación Científica y Tecnológica – (CONICYT) ; BECAS Chile
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Pollen analysis ; Patagonia ; tephrochronology ; vegetation history ; Holocene climate ; Late-glacial climate ; Palaeoecology ; Nothofagus ; Paleoecology Patagonia (Argentina and Chile) ; Paleoethnobotany Patagonia (Argentina and Chile) ; Forests and forestry Patagonia (Argentina and Chile)