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Type: Journal article
Title: Holocene vegetation change, Aboriginal wetland use and the impact of European settlement on the Fleurieu Peninsula, South Australia
Author: Bickford, S.
Gell, P.
Citation: The Holocene: a major interdisciplinary journal focusing on recent environmental change, 2005; 15(2):200-215
Publisher: Arnold
Issue Date: 2005
ISSN: 0959-6836
Statement of
Sophia Bickford and Peter Gell
Abstract: A fossil pollen and charcoal record from a cyperaceous swamp on the Fleurieu Peninsula, South Australia, was investigated to provide a history of pre- and post-European settlement vegetation change. It was found that the swamp initiated sometime before 8220 calibrated years BP. High rates of peat development and the expansion of swamp species between 7000 BP and 4500 cal. BP indicated wet conditions at that time. The swamp became drier in the late Holocene and some peat may have been lost through deflation. Macroscopic charcoal and Typha pollen suggested that Aborigines deliberately burned the upland wetlands during the mid to late Holocene. Prior to European settlement climate changes generated community shifts in the terrestrial vegetation. The record revealed a transition from an early-Holocene Eucalyptus woodland to an Allocasuarina wet-heath in the humid mid-Holocene, a community type with no modern analogue in the region. In the drier late Holocene, a Eucalyptus -dominated woodland returned. The impacts of European settlement were clearly seen in changes in sedimentation rates and in both terrestrial and wetland flora. Allocasuarina verticillata declined early in the European period and fire-tolerant species were promoted, before the almost complete removal of native vegetation through broad-scale land clearance and its replacement with nonnative pasture species. Compositional changes to the swamp flora were marked through the European phase with Acacia expanding early in settlement and later being replaced by Leptospermum, in response to changed fire and regional hydrological regimes. The impact of European land use is discussed in relation to Holocene climate-driven vegetation changes and aspects of Aboriginal land use.
Keywords: Vegetation and climate
Description: © Arnold
DOI: 10.1191/0959683605hl800rp
Appears in Collections:Aurora harvest 2
Geography, Environment and Population publications

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