A late-Holocene multiproxy fire record from a tropical savanna, eastern Arnhem Land, Northern Territory, Australia

Rehn, Emma, Rowe, Cassandra, Ulm, Sean, Woodward, Craig, and Bird, Michael A late-Holocene multiproxy fire record from a tropical savanna, eastern Arnhem Land, Northern Territory, Australia. The Holocene, 31 (5). pp. 870-883.

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View at Publisher Website: https://doi.org/10.1177/0959683620988030
 
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Abstract

Fire has a long history in Australia and is a key driver of vegetation dynamics in the tropical savanna ecosystems that cover one quarter of the country. Fire reconstructions are required to understand ecosystem dynamics over the long term but these data are lacking for the extensive savannas of northern Australia. This paper presents a multiproxy palaeofire record for Marura sinkhole in eastern Arnhem Land, Northern Territory, Australia. The record is constructed by combining optical methods (counts and morphology of macroscopic and microscopic charcoal particles) and chemical methods (quantification of abundance and stable isotope composition of pyrogenic carbon by hydrogen pyrolysis). This novel combination of measurements enables the generation of a record of relative fire intensity to investigate the interplay between natural and anthropogenic influences. The Marura palaeofire record comprises three main phases: 4600–2800 cal BP, 2800–900 cal BP and 900 cal BP to present. Highest fire incidence occurs at ~4600–4000 cal BP, coinciding with regional records of high effective precipitation, and all fire proxies decline from that time to the present. 2800–900 cal BP is characterised by variable fire intensities and aligns with archaeological evidence of occupation at nearby Blue Mud Bay. All fire proxies decline significantly after 900 cal BP. The combination of charcoal and pyrogenic carbon measures is a promising proxy for relative fire intensity in sedimentary records and a useful tool for investigating potential anthropogenic fire regimes.

Item ID: 65777
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1477-0911
Date Deposited: 05 Feb 2021 02:41
FoR Codes: 37 EARTH SCIENCES > 3703 Geochemistry > 370303 Isotope geochemistry @ 30%
37 EARTH SCIENCES > 3709 Physical geography and environmental geoscience > 370905 Quaternary environments @ 70%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970104 Expanding Knowledge in the Earth Sciences @ 50%
95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9505 Understanding Past Societies > 950503 Understanding Australias Past @ 50%
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