A 50,000-year record of Late Pleistocene tropical vegetation and human impact in lowland Borneo.

Christopher O. Hunt, David D. Gilbertson, Garry Rushworth

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51 Citations (Scopus)
11 Downloads (Pure)

Abstract

There has been considerable uncertainty about the nature of Pleistocene environments colonised by the first modern humans in Island SE Asia, and about the vegetation of the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) in the region. Here, the palynology from a series of exposures in the Great Cave of Niah, Sarawak, Malaysian Borneo, spanning a period from ca. 52,000 to 5000 BP is described. Vegetation during this period was climate-driven and often highly unstable. Interstadials are marked by lowland forest, sometimes rather dry and at times by mangroves. Stadials are indicated by taxa characteristic of open environments or, as at the LGM, by highly disturbed rather open forest. Stadials are also characterised by taxa now restricted to 1000-1600 m above sea level, suggesting temperature declines of ca 7-9 C relative to present, by comparison with modern lapse rates. The practice of biomass burning appears associated with the earliest human activity in the cave.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)61-80
Number of pages20
JournalQuaternary Science Reviews
Volume37
Issue numbernull
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 22 Mar 2012

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geology
  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Archaeology
  • Archaeology

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