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Late glacial to Holocene vegetation and climate change in the eastern Takitimu Mountains, western Southland, New Zealand

Marcus J. Vandergoes1, Sean J. Fitzsimons1, and Rewi M. Newnham2

1 Department of Geography, University of Otago, PO Box 56, Dunedin, New Zealand
2 Department of Geographical Sciences, University of Plymouth, Devon PL4 8AA, United Kingdom

 
Abstract

Pollen analysis of a core from a raised bog has provided a late glacial and Holocene vegetation record for the Takitimu Mountains in western Southland, New Zealand. The record shows a change from alpine grassland-shrubland at 12 600 yr BP to a low broadleaf bushland by 9800 yr BP. The bushland was succeeded by tall podocarp forest after 9400 yr BP which was replaced by cool montane mixed temperate forest dominated by Nothofagus menziesii after 4000 yr BP. Since 4000 yr BP, the only major changes in vegetation have been a slow increase in the values of Nothofagus fusca type pollen. An increase in Pteridium together with an increase in charcoal within the last 600 years may record Polynesian burning, and the later appearance of Abies and Pinus, together with an increase in grassland, records European influences. Comparison with other pollen profiles from southern New Zealand shows that many of the changes in vegetation associations are broadly synchronous and may be related directly to climate change. Differences in the timing of some floristic changes may reflect the combined effects of local climates and other local environmental factors, including the proximity of vegetation refugia to individual sites. Changes in the pattern of atmospheric circulation of southern New Zealand inferred in earlier published studies are consistent with the results of these findings.


Reference

Vandergoes, M. J., Fitzsimons, S. J. and Newhman, R. M. 1997. Late glacial to Holocene vegetation and climate change in the eastern Takitimu Mountains, western Southland, New Zealand. Journal of The Royal Society of New Zealand. 27 (1), 53-66. [PDF 1940kb]

 

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