Postglacial formation and dynamics of north Patagonian rainforest in the Chonos Archipelago, Southern Chile.

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    Pollen analysis of continuous sediment cores from two lakes in the northern Chonos Archipelago (44°S) in southern Chile shows a complete postglacial record of vegetation change. The fossil records indicate that deglaciation was complete in the northern Chonos by at least 13,600 14Cyr BP. Ericaceous heath and grassland persisted for more than 600 years after deglaciation under the influence of dry/cold climates and frequent burning. Nothofagus-Pilgerodendron-Podocarpus forest, with modern analogues in the southern Chonos Archipelago, was established across the northern islands by 12,400 14Cyr BP under increasingly warm and wet climates. There is no evidence for a return to cooler climates during the Younger Dryas chronozone. The rise of Tepualia stipularis and Weinmannia trichosperma as important forest components between 10,600 and 6000 14Cyr BP may be associated with climates that were warmer than present. The collapse of Pilgerodendron communities during this time may have been triggered by a combination of factors related to disturbance frequency including tephra deposition events, fire and climate change. After 6000 14Cyr BP Pilgerodendron recovers and Nothofagus-Pilgerodendron-Tepualia forest persists until the present. European logging and burning activity may have increased the susceptibility of North Patagonian Rainforest to invasion by introduced species and to future collapse of the long-lived Pilgerodendron communities.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)2433-2452
    JournalQuaternary Science Reviews
    Publication statusPublished - 2004


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