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Pollen-based biome reconstruction for southern Europe and Africa 18,000 yr bp

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Pollen data from 18,000 14C yr bpwere compiled in order to reconstruct biome distributions at the last glacial maximum in southern Europe and Africa. Biome reconstructions were made using the objective biomization method applied to pollen counts using a complete list of dryland taxa wherever possible. Consistent and major differences from present-day biomes are shown.

Forest and xerophytic woods/scrub were replaced by steppe, both in the Mediterranean region and in southern Africa, except in south-western Cape Province where fynbos (xerophytic scrub) persisted.

Sites in the tropical highlands, characterized today by evergreen forest, were dominated by steppe and/or xerophytic vegetation (cf. today’s Ericaceous belt and Afroalpine grassland) at the last glacial maximum.

Available data from the tropical lowlands are sparse but suggest that the modern tropical rain forest was largely replaced by tropical seasonal forest while the modern seasonal or dry forests were encroached on by savanna or steppe. Montane forest elements descended to lower elevations than today.
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Keywords: Africa; Europe; Pollen data; biomes; last glacial maximum; plant functional types; vegetation changes

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: IMEP CNRS, Case 451, 13397 Marseille Cedex 20, France, 2: Biologisch-Archaeologisch Instituut, Rijkuniversiteit Groningen, Poststraat 6, NL-9712 ER Groningen, The Netherlands, 3: CEREGE, BP 80, 13545 Aix-en-Provence Cedex 04, France, 4: WWF, Panda House, Weyside Park, Cattershall Lane, Godalming GU7 1XR, UK, 5: Paléoenvironnements et Palynologie, USTL, Pl. E. Bataillon, 34095 Montpellier Cedex, France, 6: University of Hull, School of Geography and Earth Resources, Hull HU6 7RX, UK, 7: Department of Botany, University of Barcelona, 08193 Bellaterra, Barcelona, Spain, 8: Department of Botany and Genetics, PO Box 339, University of the Orange Free State, Bloemfontein 9300, South Africa, 9: Forstweg 47, D-24105 Kiel, Germany, 10: Department of Geography, National University of Singapore, Singapore, 11: Laboratoire d’Ecologie Terrestre, CNRS-UPS, 13 Avenue du Colonel Roche, BP 4403, 31405 Toulouse Cedex 4, France 12: Dynamic Palaeoclimatology, Lund University, Box 117, S-221 00 Lund, Sweden,

Publication date: 2000-05-01

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