Vegetation over the last glacial maximum at Girraween Lagoon, monsoonal northern Australia

Rowe, Cassandra, Wurster, Christopher M., Zwart, Costijn, Brand, Michael, Hutley, Lindsay B., Levchenko, Vladimir, and Bird, Michael I. (2021) Vegetation over the last glacial maximum at Girraween Lagoon, monsoonal northern Australia. Quaternary Research, 102. pp. 39-52.

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Abstract

Northern Australia is a region where limited information exists on environments at the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM). Girraween Lagoon is located on the central northern coast of Australia and is a site representative of regional tropical savanna woodlands. Girraween remained a perennial waterbody throughout the LGM, and as a result retains a complete proxy record of last glacial climate, vegetation and fire. This study combines independent palynological and geochemical analyses to demonstrate a dramatic reduction in tree cover, woody richness and expansion of grassland relative to current vegetation at the site. The process of tree decline was primarily controlled by the cool-dry glacial climate and CO2 effects, though more localised site characteristics restricted wetland associated vegetation. Fire processes played less of a role determining vegetation than in the Holocene and modern day, with reduced fire activity consistent with significantly lower biomass available to burn. This unique and detailed palaeoecological record provides the opportunity to explore and assess modelling studies of vegetation distribution during the LGM, particularly where a number of different global vegetation and/or climate simulations are inconsistent for northern Australia, and at a range of resolutions.

Item ID: 65697
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1096-0287
Keywords: Tropical savanna; Grassland; Tree cover; Pollen; Charcoal; Carbon isotope; Model; Monsoon; Last Glacial Maximum; Northern Australia
Copyright Information: © University of Washington. Published by Cambridge University Press, 2020
Funders: Australian Research Council (ARC)
Projects and Grants: ARC FL140100044, ARC CE170100015
Date Deposited: 18 Feb 2021 02:11
FoR Codes: 41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4102 Ecological applications > 410206 Landscape ecology @ 20%
31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3103 Ecology > 310306 Palaeoecology @ 50%
37 EARTH SCIENCES > 3702 Climate change science > 370201 Climate change processes @ 30%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9608 Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity > 960806 Forest and Woodlands Flora, Fauna and Biodiversity @ 40%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960305 Ecosystem Adaptation to Climate Change @ 30%
96 ENVIRONMENT > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960304 Climate Variability (excl. Social Impacts) @ 30%
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