Climatic and anthropogenic influences on vegetation changes during the last 5000 years in a seasonal dry tropical forest at the northern limits of the Neotropics

S. Lozano-García, B. Figueroa-Rangel, S. Sosa-Nájera, Margarita Caballero, A.J. Noren, S.E. Metcalfe, O. Tellez-Valdés, B. Ortega-Guerrero

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Seasonal dry tropical forest (STDF) is a widespread vegetation type in western Mexico. Generally, this type of forest develops in semihumid habitats where lacustrine basins are scarce, preventing documentation of the vegetation history and forest dynamics using a paleoecological approach. Here, we present a palynological record from the Santa Maria del Oro crater lake, located within the distribution area of the STDF and the adjacent dry oak forest which gives insight into the changes in diversity and human impact at this tropical site. Pollen data, in combination with geochemical analysis and microcharcoal data from a lacustrine sequence, are used to discuss vegetation change and diversity in the plant assemblages related to drought or anthropogenic activity over the last 5000 years. Our results show three distinct periods of drought in the basin, from 4200 to 3850, 3100 to 2300, 1570 to 1100 and 300 cal year BP, with changes in vegetation composition mainly related to a decrease in taxa diversity during these periods. Based on the presence of maize pollen, two periods of human activity (3790–2160 and 280 cal year BP to present) were detected with an increase in herbaceous pollen used as a surrogate for deforestation. These two disturbance periods, pre-Columbian and postcolonial, occurred during wet conditions in the basin. Our results highlight the correlation between El Niño events, drought and fire with changes in the composition and diversity of STDF. © The Author(s) 2021.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Number of pages12
JournalHolocene
DOIs
StatePublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to thank those who contributed to the fieldwork in 2003 during the MOLE expedition: Douglas Schnurrenberger, Mark Shapley, Alejandro Ram?rez-Rodr?guez, Isabel Israde and Sarah Davies. Rodrigo Martinez Abarca helped with the map editing. The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This research was founded by UNAM DGAPA-PAPIIT (M?xico grant no. IN203102 and IN110106).

Funding Information:
The author(s) disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article: This research was founded by UNAM DGAPA-PAPIIT (México grant no. IN203102 and IN110106).

Publisher Copyright:
© The Author(s) 2021.

Keywords

  • diversity
  • drought
  • Hill numbers
  • palynology
  • tropical dry forest
  • western Mexico

Continental Scientific Drilling Facility tags

  • MOLE

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