Abstract Fine-resolution palaeoecological and dendrochronological methods were used to investigate the impacts of climate change, and natural and anthropogenic disturbances on vegetation in the North Patagonian rainforest of southern Chile at decadal to century timescales during the late Holocene. A lake sediment mud–water interface core was collected from the northern Chonos Archipelago and analysed for pollen and charcoal. Dendrochronological analysis of tree cores collected from stands of Pilgerodendron uviferum close to the lake site was incorporated into the study. The combined analysis showed that the present mosaic of vegetation types in this region is a function of environmental changes across a range of timescales: millennial climate change, more recent natural and anthropogenic disturbances, and possibly short-term climatic variations. Of particular interest is the spatiotemporal distribution of Pilgerodendron uviferum dieback/burning in the Chonos Archipelago region.