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Two short pollen records from the late Holocene and pre last Glacial of Flinders Island, south eastern Australia

Ladd, P.G.ORCID: 0000-0002-7730-9685 and Clarke, I.C. (2020) Two short pollen records from the late Holocene and pre last Glacial of Flinders Island, south eastern Australia. Australian Journal of Botany, 69 (1). pp. 1-8.

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The Bass Strait islands are some of the few areas in Australia that were not occupied by humans at the time of European contact. There is archaeological evidence that Flinders Island at the eastern end of Bass Strait supported people until c. 4500 years ago but after that there is no evidence of human presence. Two previous pollen studies, covering the Holocene, from a swamp on the eastern side of the island were interpreted rather differently in terms of how influential humans were in their effects on the island’s vegetation. In this paper, two short pollen diagrams from very different places than the earlier studies are described. These add to the evidence of the type of vegetation on the island over the late Quaternary. One diagram covers only the last 1500 years and is from a 1-m deposit from near the highest peak on the island in the south. This shows that there has been little change over that time in the vegetation around the site and there has been no influence of fire in the area. By contrast, a thin peat deposit, overlying lake sediments containing freshwater mollusc shells and Characeae oogonia, from Killiecrankie Bay in the north of the island dated at c. 34 000 14C calibrated (cal) before present (BP) shows evidence of fire. The vegetation at the time was not similar to the vegetation during the Holocene with little representation of eucalypts but prominence of shrubby species (Leptospermum, Melaleuca) and herbaceous taxa such as Restionaceae and Asteraceae, particularly the Pleistocene Asteraceae pollen type. The vegetation on the eastern Bassian isthmus at that time was likely to have had less tree cover than in the Holocene and was more heath-dominated.

Item Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation(s): Environmental and Conservation Sciences
Publisher: CSIRO Publishing
Copyright: © CSIRO 2020
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