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Palaeo-lake and Swamp Stratigraphic Records of Holocene Vegetation and Sea-level Changes, Mangaia, Cook Islands

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Title:Palaeo-lake and Swamp Stratigraphic Records of Holocene Vegetation and Sea-level Changes, Mangaia, Cook Islands
Authors:Ellison, Joanna C.
Date Issued:Jan 1994
Publisher:University of Hawaii Press
Citation:Ellison JC. 1994. Palaeo-lake and swamp stratigraphic records of Holocene vegetation and sea-level changes, Mangaia, Cook Islands. Pac Sci 48(1): 1-15.
Abstract:Stratigraphy of swamps inside the inner makatea rim of Mangaia
was investigated to show Holocene changes in vegetation and sea level. In the
mid-Holocene five lakes existed where there are now clay-filled swamps, and lake
notches on the makatea wall indicate that sea level was sustained at 1.1 m higher
than present. Fine annual laminations in gyttja deposits indicate the greatest
lake depth in that period, dated between 6500 and 4500 yr B.P. Pollen evidence
of wetland communities also points to a higher sea level at that time. Pollen
analyses and charcoal concentrations of cores from two different drainage
basins show that the greatest change in terrestrial vegetation of the Holocene on
Mangaia was clearance of forest by people, resulting in soil erosion from the
inner volcanic cone and clay infilling of the lakes. Humans were present on
Mangaia as early as 2500 yr B.P. Although some clearance of forest occurred
during that early period of human occupation, systematic island-wide anthropogenic
disturbance began ca. 1650 yr B.P., as shown in both cores from a decline
in forest pollen and a major and sustained increase in Dicranopteris, a fern that
colonizes disturbed land.
Appears in Collections: Pacific Science Volume 48, Number 1, 1994

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