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Relating pollen representation to an evolving Amazonian landscape between the last glacial maximum and Late Holocene

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  25 August 2020

Richard J. Smith
Department of Geography and Environmental Science, School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science (SAGES), University of Reading, Whiteknights, P.O. Box 227, Reading, RG6 6DW, United Kingdom
Francis E. Mayle*
Department of Geography and Environmental Science, School of Archaeology, Geography and Environmental Science (SAGES), University of Reading, Whiteknights, P.O. Box 227, Reading, RG6 6DW, United Kingdom
S. Yoshi Maezumi
Institute for Biodiversity & Ecosystem Dynamics, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.
Mitchell J. Power
Natural History Museum of Utah, Department of Geography, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, 84112, Utah, USA
*Corresponding author at: E-mail address: (F.E. Mayle).


In contrast to temperate regions, relationships between basin characteristics (e.g., type/size) and fossil pollen archives have received little attention in Amazonia. Here, we compare fossil pollen records of a small palm swamp (Cuatro Vientos; CV) and a nearby large lake (Laguna Chaplin, LCH) in Bolivian Amazonia, demonstrating that palm swamps can yield Quaternary pollen archives recording the history of terrestrial vegetation beyond the basin margin, rather than merely a history of localized swamp vegetation dynamics. The pollen assemblages from these two contrasting basins display remarkable agreement throughout their late Quaternary history, indicating past drier climates supported savanna landscape during the last glacial maximum (LGM; 24,000–18,000 cal yr BP) and savanna/semideciduous forest mosaic during the middle Holocene (7000-4750 cal yr BP) at both regional (inferred from LCH) and local (inferred from CV) spatial scales. Additionally, the local-scale catchment of CV and the basin's proximity to the riverine forests of the Río Paraguá enables exploration of the extent of gallery/riverine forests during the LGM and middle Holocene. We show that, between 24,000–4000 cal yr BP, riverine/gallery rainforests were substantially reduced compared with present, challenging the hypothesis that gallery rainforests were important refugia for rainforest species during the drier LGM and middle Holocene.

Research Article
Copyright © University of Washington. Published by Cambridge University Press, 2020

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Relating pollen representation to an evolving Amazonian landscape between the last glacial maximum and Late Holocene
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