Multiproxy Holocene fire records from the tropical savannas of northern Cape York Peninsula, Queensland, Australia

Rehn, Emma, Rowe, Cassandra, Ulm, Sean, Gadd, Patricia, Zawadzki, Atun, Jacobsen, Geraldine, Woodward, Craig, and Bird, Michael (2021) Multiproxy Holocene fire records from the tropical savannas of northern Cape York Peninsula, Queensland, Australia. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, 9. 771700. -16.

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Palaeoecology has demonstrated potential to inform current and future land management by providing long-term baselines for fire regimes, over thousands of years covering past periods of lower/higher rainfall and temperatures. To extend this potential, more work is required for methodological innovation able to generate nuanced, relevant and clearly interpretable results. This paper presents records from Cape York Peninsula, Queensland, Australia, as a case study where fire management is an important but socially complex modern management issue, and where palaeofire records are limited. Two new multiproxy palaeofire records are presented from Sanamere Lagoon (8150-6600 cal BP) and Big Willum Swamp (3900 cal BP to present). These records combine existing methods to investigate fire occurrence, vegetation types, and relative fire intensity. Results presented here demonstrate a diversity of fire histories at different sites across Cape York Peninsula, highlighting the need for finer scale palaeofire research. Future fire management planning on Cape York Peninsula must take into account the thousands of years of active Indigenous management and this understanding can be further informed by palaeoecological research.

Item ID: 70976
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2296-701X
Keywords: tropical savannas, charcoal, pyrogenic carbon, relative fire intensity, Holocene, northern Australia, Cape York Peninsula
Copyright Information: Copyright © 2021 Rehn, Rowe, Ulm, Gadd, Zawadzki, Jacobsen, Woodward and Bird. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.
Funders: ARC Centre of Excellence for Australian Biodiversity and Heritage (ACR), Australian Institute of Nuclear Science and Engineering (AINSE)
Projects and Grants: ARC FL140100044, ARC CE170100015
Research Data:
Date Deposited: 26 Nov 2021 02:21
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: 28 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 2801 Expanding knowledge > 280107 Expanding knowledge in the earth sciences @ 50%
13 CULTURE AND SOCIETY > 1307 Understanding past societies > 130703 Understanding Australia’s past @ 50%
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