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Title: Holocene environmental and human interactions in East Africa
Author: Githumbi, Esther Nyambura
ISNI:       0000 0004 6500 5080
Awarding Body: University of York
Current Institution: University of York
Date of Award: 2017
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A multi-proxy approach analysing pollen, macro-charcoal, sediment characterisation and elemental profiles was used to develop palaeoecological records and reveal environmental changes since the late Pleistocene- Holocene transition period from Mau Forest and since the mid-Holocene from Amboseli. Mau Forest was characterised by diverse Afromontane forest taxa between �16,000 cal yr BP and �13,000 cal yr BP which decreased during the Younger Dryas. During the early Holocene, there was a slight increase in montane tree taxa and the main vegetation change noted during the Holocene was the increase in woody shrubs and herbs. The pollen, sediment characterisation and elemental profiles revealed that climatic variability was the main driver of forest composition change and periods of aridity and wetness were identified at�15,000, �13,400, �12,000 and �1200 cal yr BP where there was increased organic matter, sand, magnetic susceptibility with peaks in detrital elements suggesting periods of wetness. Four new Amboseli records dating from the mid Holocene (�5000 cal yr BP) revealed a predominantly dry environment characterised by localised wet and dry phases and fire activity. The spatial differences observed from the Amboseli records are attributed to hydrological variance as the swamps are all fed by ground water and the differential use by humans and wildlife. Kimana, Enkongu and Esambu swamps are Cyperaceae dominated; the pollen records indicate that Amboseli is a grassland savannah dominated by Poaceae, Acacia, Commiphora and Euphorbia. The pollen composition and abundance and charcoal concentration levels vary between the four Amboseli sites indicating localised drivers and controls of fire at each site. This long-term information is useful in the development of ecosystem management policies which are constantly being updated due to the evolving pressures caused by increasing populations and changing land use around the two ecosystems.
Supervisor: Marchant, Rob Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available