Volcanic, climatic and human ecosystem modification

May 8, 2017

My second pair articles from Vegetation History & Archaeobotany that I would like to highlight look at the impacts of volcanoes and climate on vegetation change. Specifically these explore:

For more detailed thoughts on these papers read on…

Eddudóttir et al. (2017): The impact of volcanic events on vegetation is undoubtable but difficult to study in the long-term as sediment accumulation post-eruption is often slow and so the sedimentary record only captures this change in rare circumstances. Indeed when we looked a vegetation change on ecosystems in on the eastern Andean flank we initially found no clear impact (Cardenas et al., 2011). The study by Eddudóttir et al. shows a nice example of how post-eruptive vegetation change can be recorded in the fossil record, and they provide a unique insight into how Icelandic ecosystems responded to the major purturbation of the Hekla 4 eruption around 4,200 years ago. We hope that ongoing high resolution studies from the Andes will be able to emulate these type of findings in the near future.

Rodríguez-Zorro et al. (2017): The regional response of vegetation in the South American tropics to climate change remains ambiguous because of a lack of studies of past vegetation change (Flantua et al., 2015). Rodríguez-Zorro et al. present an important new palaeoecological data set from Roraima State in northwestern Brazil that shows significant vegetation change during the Holocene, that they interpret to show different patterns of climate driven vegetation change than records from Venezuela and Colombia. They also highlight to potential for pre-European human populations to have manipulated the environment.


Cárdenas, M.L., Gosling, W.D., Sherlock, S.C., Poole, I., Pennington, R.T. & Mothes, P. (2011) The response of vegetation on the Andean flank in western Amazonia to Pleistocene climate change. Science 331, 1055-1058. DOI: 10.1126/science.1197947

Eddudóttir, S.D., Erlendsson, E. & Gísladóttir, G. (2017) Effects of the Hekla 4 tephra on vegetation in Northwest Iceland. Vegetation History and Archaeobotany DOI: 10.1007/s00334-017-0603-5

Flantua, S.G.A., Hooghiemstra, H., Grimm, E.C., Behling, H., Bush, M.B., González-Arango, C., Gosling, W.D., Ledru, M., Lozano-García, S., Maldonado, A., Prieto, A.R., Rull, V. & Van Boxel, J.H. (2015) Updated site compilation of the Latin American Pollen Database. Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology 223, 104-115. DOI: 10.1016/j.revpalbo.2015.09.008

Rodríguez-Zorro, P.A., Costa, M.L.d. & Behling, H. (2017) Mid-Holocene vegetation dynamics with an early expansion of Mauritia flexuosa palm trees inferred from the Serra do Tepequem in the savannas of Roraima State in Amazonia, northwestern Brazil. Vegetation History and Archaeobotany DOI: 10.1007/s00334-017-0605-3

Leave a Reply

Required fields are marked *.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at WordPress.com.
%d bloggers like this: