A comparison of late Quaternary forest changes in New Caledonia and northeastern Australia

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    Abstract

    A pollen record from Lake Xere Wapo, southeast New Caledonia, is the longest continuous terrestrial record to be recovered from the tropical southwest Pacific and reveals a series of millennial scale changes in vegetation over the last ?130,000 yr. A comparison of the Lake Xere Wapo record with the key northeast Australian record of Lynch's Crater reveals regional patterns of change. From ?120,000 to ?50,000 yr ago the vegetation around Lake Xere Wapo alternated between rainforest and maquis with fire an important disturbance factor. In the last 50,000 yr fire is almost absent from the record and the vegetation assumes a character unprecedented in the preceding 100,000 yr, dominated by Dacrydium and Podocarpus pollen. The most compelling aspect of the comparison with Lynch's Crater is that the much-discussed Araucaria decline at around 45,000 yr ago in northern Queensland is matched by a similar decline in the Lake Xere Wapo record.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)372-383
    JournalQuaternary Research
    Volume64
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2005

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