To save content items to your account,
please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies.
If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account.
Find out more about saving content to .
To save content items to your Kindle, first ensure email@example.com
is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings
on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part
of your Kindle email address below.
Find out more about saving to your Kindle.
Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations.
‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi.
‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.
Temporal and spatial patterns in flowering phenology were assessed for eight tropical African tree species. Specifically, the frequency and seasonality of flowering at seven sites in central Africa were determined using field data, graphical analysis and circular statistics. Additionally, spatial variation in the timing of flowering across species range was investigated using herbarium data, analysing the relative influence of latitude, longitude and timing of the dry season with a Bayesian circular generalized linear model. Annual flowering was found for 20 out of the 25 populations studied. For 21 populations located at the north of the climatic hinge flowering was occurring during the dry season. The analysis of herbarium collections revealed a significant shift in the timing of flowering with latitude for E. suaveolens, and with the timing of the dry season for M. excelsa (and to a lesser extent L. alata), with the coexistence of two flowering peaks near the equator where the distribution of monthly rainfall is bimodal. For the other species, none of latitude, longitude or timing of the dry season had an effect on the timing of flowering. Our study highlights the need to identify the drivers of the flowering phenology of economically important African tree species.
During the First World War (1914–1918), the construction and maintenance of the Western Front in North-west Europe required huge quantities of timber. Although archaeological investigations regularly uncover well-preserved wooden structures and objects, studies of the timber's provenance are rare. The authors combine archival research with wood-species identification and tree-ring analysis of a large assemblage of wooden objects excavated from former trenches on the Western Front. The results show that most objects and structures were made using fast-growing European species, with evidence for the small-scale but continuous importation of North American timber.
Charcoal was sampled in four soil profiles at the Mayumbe forest boundary (DRC). Five fire events were recorded and 44 charcoal types were identified. One stratified profile yielded charcoal assemblages around 530 cal yr BP and > 43.5 cal ka BP in age. The oldest assemblage precedes the period of recorded anthropogenic burning, illustrating occasional long-term absence of fire but also natural wildfire occurrences within tropical rainforest. No other charcoal assemblages older than 2500 cal yr BP were recorded, perhaps due to bioturbation and colluvial reworking. The recorded paleofires were possibly associated with short-lived climate anomalies. Progressively dry climatic conditions since ca. 4000 cal yr BP onward did not promote paleofire occurrence until increasing seasonality affected vegetation at the end of the third millennium BP, as illustrated by a fire occurring in mature rainforest that persisted until around 2050 cal yr BP. During a drought episode coinciding with the "Medieval Climate Anomaly", mature rainforest was locally replaced by woodland savanna. Charcoal remains from pioneer forest indicate that fire hampered forest regeneration after climatic drought episodes. The presence of pottery shards and oil-palm endocarps associated with two relatively recent paleofires suggests that the effects of climate variability were amplified by human activities.
In equatorial regions, where tree rings are less distinct or even absent, the response of forests to high-frequency climate variability is poorly understood. We measured stable carbon and oxygen isotopes in anatomically distinct, annual growth rings of four Pericopsis elata trees from a plantation in the Congo Basin, to assess their sensitivity to recorded changes in precipitation over the last 50 y. Our results suggest that oxygen isotopes have high common signal strength (EPS = 0.74), and respond to multi-annual precipitation variability at the regional scale, with low δ18O values (28–29‰) during wetter conditions (1960–1970). Conversely, δ13C are mostly related to growth variation, which in a light-demanding species are driven by competition for light. Differences in δ13C values between fast- and slow-growing trees (c. 2‰), result in low common signal strength (EPS = 0.37) and are driven by micro-site conditions rather than by climate. This study highlights the potential for understanding the causes of growth variation in P. elata as well as past hydroclimatic changes, in a climatically complex region characterized by a bimodal distribution in precipitation.
The date of the volcanic eruption of Santorini that caused extensive damage toMinoan Crete has been controversial since the 1980s. Some have placed the event in the late seventeenth century BC. Others have made the case for a younger date of around 1500 BC. A recent contribution to that controversy has been the dating of an olive tree branch preserved within the volcanic ash fall on Santorini. In this debate feature Paolo Cherubini and colleagues argue that the olive tree dating (which supports the older chronology) is unreliable on a number of grounds. There follows a response from the authors of that dating, and comments from other specialists, with a closing reply from Cherubini and his team.
In the last decade, the myth of the pristine tropical forest has been seriously challenged. In central Africa, there is a growing body of evidence for past human settlements along the Atlantic forests, but very little information is available about human activities further inland. Therefore, this study aimed at determining the temporal and spatial patterns of human activities in an archaeologically unexplored area of 110,000 km2 located in the northern Congo Basin and currently covered by dense forest. Fieldwork involving archaeology as well as archaeobotany was undertaken in 36 sites located in southeastern Cameroon and in the northern Republic of Congo. Evidence of past human activities through either artifacts or charred botanical remains was observed in all excavated test pits across the study area. The set of 43 radiocarbon dates extending from 15,000 BP to the present time showed a bimodal distribution in the Late Holocene, which was interpreted as two phases of human expansion with an intermediate phase of depopulation. The 2300–1300 BP phase is correlated with the migrations of supposed farming populations from northwestern Cameroon. Between 1300 and 670 BP, less material could be dated. This is in agreement with the population collapse already reported for central Africa. Following this, the 670–20 BP phase corresponds to a new period of human expansion known as the Late Iron Age. These results bring new and extensive evidence of human activities in the northern Congo Basin and support the established chronology for human history in central Africa.
Intervessel pits play a key role in trees' water transport, lying at the base of drought-induced embolism, and in the regulation of hydraulic conductivity via hydrogels bordering pit canals. Recently, their microstructure has been the focus of numerous studies, but the considerable variation, even within species and the histochemistry of pit membranes, remains largely unexplained. In the present study, intervessel pits of the outermost wood were examined for Avicennia marina, of dry and rainy season wood separately for Rhizophora mucronata. The thickness of the pit membranes was measured on transmission electron micrographs while their topochemical nature was also analyzed via cellular UV microspectrophotometry. Pit membranes of R. mucronata were slightly thicker in dry season wood than in rainy season wood, but their spectra showed for both seasons a lignin and a yet unidentified higher wavelength absorbing component. It was suggested to be a derivative of the deposits, regularly filling pit canals. The vestures of A. marina chemically resembled pit membranes rather than cell walls.
Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this to your organisation's collection.