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Vegetation dynamics within the savanna biome in southern Mozambique during the late Holocene
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Geological Sciences.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography.
Department of Archaeology and Ancient History, Uppsala University, Sweden.
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2017 (English)In: The Holocene, ISSN 0959-6836, E-ISSN 1477-0911Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

This study explores temporal dynamics within grassland and Miombo woodland ecosystems in southern Mozambique and their potential coupling to hydro-climate change during the late-Holocene period. Palaeo-reconstructions are based on phytolith and diatom assemblages and mineral magnetic properties in fossil sediments from Lake Chilau, southern Mozambique. Phytolith interpretation was aided by previous ecological studies on modern plants and soils. The Lake Chilau record suggests high abundance of Panicoideae and other mesophytic grasses during the AD 1200s and 1300s, followed by an increase in Chloridoideae and grasses of more xerophytic affinity between ca. AD 1400 and 1550. This vegetation transition takes place during the early phase of the so-called ‘Little Ice Age’ (LIA), when regional palaeoclimate records report a shift from warmer and wetter towards drier and cooler conditions in southern Africa. Concurrent to these shifts within the grassland biome, the Chilau record reports an increase in phytoliths associated with arboreal vegetation (ca. AD 1400–1550), probably associated with the woody component of the Miombo savanna ecosystem. This supports previous studies hypothesizing that the forest component of the Miombo savanna was favoured by LIA dryness, although at Chilau, this expansion may have been amplified by a decline in fire disturbance. These tentative responses in the woody components of the savanna biome to shifts in moisture availability in the past have implications for future management and sustainability of the Miombo ecosystem in southern Mozambique under a changing climate.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Sage Publications, 2017.
Keyword [en]
diatoms, Miombo, Mozambique, palaeoclimate, palaeoecology, phytoliths
National Category
Earth and Related Environmental Sciences Climate Research
Research subject
Physical Geography; Quaternary Geology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-145627DOI: 10.1177/0959683617721327OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-145627DiVA: diva2:1131303
Available from: 2017-08-14 Created: 2017-08-14 Last updated: 2017-08-14

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Publisher's full texthttp://journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0959683617721327

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