Get access

Paoay Lake, northern Luzon, the Philippines: a record of Holocene environmental change

Authors


Janelle Stevenson, fax +61 2 612 549 17, e-mail: janelle.stevenson@anu.edu.au

Abstract

The last 7000 years of environmental history for Paoay Lake and its surrounding landscape is examined through the analysis of pollen, diatoms, charcoal, mineral magnetics and AMS dating. Basal sediments contain shells of Cerithiidae and the saline-tolerant diatom Diploneis indicating that this was an estuarine environment before becoming a freshwater lake after 6000 bp. Pollen analysis shows that submontane forests, characterized by Pinus pollen, underwent a major disturbance around 5000 years ago, recovering to previous levels by 1000 years ago. Charcoal as an indicator of fire is abundant throughout record, although the highest levels occur in the earlier part of the record, between 6500 and 5000 years ago. An aspect of the project was to examine whether there is evidence of land clearance and agricultural development in the region during the late Holocene. While a clear signal of human impact in the record remains equivocal, there appears to be a correspondence between submontane forest decline and mid-Holocene ocean data that depict warmer and possibly drier conditions for the region. The study highlights the vulnerability of these montane forests to forecasts of a warmer and drier climate in the near future.

Ancillary