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Landscape-scale drivers of glacial ecosystem change in the montane forests of the eastern Andean flank, Ecuador

Loughlin, Nicholas J.D.; Gosling, William D.; Coe, Angela L.; Gulliver, Pauline; Mothes, Patricia and Montoya, Encarni (2018). Landscape-scale drivers of glacial ecosystem change in the montane forests of the eastern Andean flank, Ecuador. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 489 pp. 198–208.

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DOI (Digital Object Identifier) Link: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.palaeo.2017.10.011
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Abstract

Understanding the impact of landscape-scale disturbance events during the last glacial period is vital in accu- rately reconstructing the ecosystem dynamics of montane environments. Here, a sedimentary succession from the tropical montane cloud forest of the eastern Andean flank of Ecuador provides evidence of the role of non- climate drivers of vegetation change (volcanic events, fire regime and herbivory) during the late-Pleistocene. Multiproxy analysis (pollen, non-pollen palynomorphs, charcoal, geochemistry and carbon content) of the se- diments, radiocarbon dated to ca. 45–42 ka, provide a snap shot of the depositional environment, vegetation community and non-climate drivers of ecosystem dynamics. The geomorphology of the Vinillos study area, along with the organic‐carbon content, and aquatic remains suggest deposition took place near a valley floor in a swamp or shallow water environment. The pollen assemblage initially composed primarily of herbaceous types (Poaceae-Asteraceae-Solanaceae) is replaced by assemblages characterised by Andean forest taxa, (first Melastomataceae-Weinmannia-Ilex, and later, Alnus-Hedyosmum-Myrica). The pollen assemblages have no modern analogues in the tropical montane cloud forest of Ecuador. High micro-charcoal and rare macro-charcoal abundances co-occur with volcanic tephra deposits suggesting transportation from extra-local regions and that volcanic eruptions were an important source of ignition in the wider glacial landscape. The presence of the coprophilous fungi Sporormiella reveals the occurrence of herbivores in the glacial montane forest landscape. Pollen analysis indicates a stable regional vegetation community, with changes in vegetation population co- varying with large volcanic tephra deposits suggesting that the structure of glacial vegetation at Vinillos was driven by volcanic activity.

Item Type: Journal Item
Copyright Holders: 2017 The Authors
ISSN: 0031-0182
Project Funding Details:
Funded Project NameProject IDFunding Body
Evaluation of tropical forests sensitivity to past climate changes (SE-11-091-WG)NE/J018562/1NERC (Natural Environment Research Council)
NERC DTG 2013 (RED Form SE-13-076-WG)NE/L501888/1NERC (Natural Environment Research Council)
Radiocarbon anaysisNRCF010001NERC radiocarbon facility
PhD studentship (matched funding)Not SetThe Open University
Keywords: Cloud forest; Vegetation community; Landscape dynamics; Neotropics; Pleistocene
Academic Unit/School: Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) > Environment, Earth and Ecosystem Sciences
Faculty of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM)
Item ID: 52797
Depositing User: Angela Coe
Date Deposited: 05 Jan 2018 16:03
Last Modified: 15 May 2018 14:28
URI: http://oro.open.ac.uk/id/eprint/52797
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