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Tropical Rain Forest and Climate Dynamics of the Atlantic Lowland, Southern Brazil, during the Late Quaternary

  • Hermann Behling (a1) and Raquel R. B. Negrelle (a2)

Palynological analysis of a core from the Atlantic rain forest region in Brazil provides unprecedented insight into late Quaternary vegetational and climate dynamics within this southern tropical lowland. The 576-cm-long sediment core is from a former beach-ridge “valley,” located 3 km inland from the Atlantic Ocean. Radio-carbon dates suggest that sediment deposition began prior to 35,000 14C yr B.P. Between ca. 37,500 and ca. 27,500 14C yr B.P. and during the last glacial maximum (LGM; ca. 27,500 to ca. 14,500 14C yr B.P.), the coastal rain forest was replaced by grassland and patches of cold-adapted forest. Tropical trees, such as Alchornea, Moraceae/Urticaceae, and Arecaceae, were almost completely absent during the LGM. Furthermore, their distributions were shifted at least 750 km further north, suggesting a cooling between 3°C and 7°C and a strengthening of Antarctic cold fronts during full-glacial times. A depauperate tropical rain forest developed as part of a successional sequence after ca. 12,300 14C yr B.P. There is no evidence that Araucaria trees occurred in the Atlantic lowland during glacial times. The rain forest was disturbed by marine incursions during the early Holocene period until ca. 6100 14C yr B.P., as indicated by the presence of microforaminifera. A closed Atlantic rain forest then developed at the study site.

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Quaternary Research
  • ISSN: 0033-5894
  • EISSN: 1096-0287
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