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Late Quaternary Vegetational Changes in a Marsh Forest in Southeastern Brazil with Comments on Prehistoric Human Occupation

Walter Mareschi Bissa, Mauro B de Toledo


This article presents a palynological study carried out on a sediment core from a peat deposit in Serra de Botucatu, in São Paulo State, southeastern Brazilian Plateau. This region has been covered by grassland vegetation and forest patches throughout the recorded period. AMS radiocarbon dating plus palynological analysis of 27 samples from the sediment core allowed the recognition of several environmental changes that took place during the last 33,000 yr recorded in the core. The relationship between sedimentation rates and changes in the abundance of plants recognized through their pollen record, particularly a few important indicator species, provided the paleoenvironmental history for the Serra de Botucatu region, allowing the identification of changes in climate conditions and comparison with other regions in Brazil. One of the most remarkable features of this record is the cold and humid conditions during the Last Glacial Maximum, which diverges from previous interpretations for southeastern and southern Brazil but is in good agreement with paleoclimatic data from trace elements from cave stalagmites in SE Brazil. No indications of human impacts on the vegetation were found in this record.

DOI: 10.2458/azu_rc.57.18198


palynology; paleoclimate; Late Quatenary; marsh forest

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