A sediment core from Lake Kavitaha, central Madagascar, provides a stratigraphic record of changes in pollen spectra and charcoal influx in the late Holocene. The earliest pollen spectra distantly resemble the modern pollen rain of a vegetational mosaic in northern Madagascar, although results of principal component analysis suggest no close modern analog. At about 1300 yr B.P., a marked rise in charcoal is followed by a decline in pollen of woody taxa, culminating in a change to grass-dominated pollen spectra within about 4 centuries. Pollen of woody taxa decline below 15% of total terrestrial pollen and spores beginning about 600 yr B. P. The influx of charcoal from graminoid sources remains high until recent centuries. The late Holocene changes in vegetation and fire ecology at the site were approximately contemporaneous with the latest 14?C dates for the extinct megafauna and the earliest dates for human occupation.
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