A HOLOCENE VEGETATION RECORD FROM THE EASTERN SIDE OF WILSONS PROMONTORY, VICTORIA

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Summary

Pollen analysis of sediment at a site on the eastern side of Wilsons Promontory (southern Australia) privides a record of the vegetation from about 13 000 B.P. to the present. A Eucalyptus forest was present on the site at first, but was replaced by a Melaleuca scrub or thicket about 11000 B.P., probably reflecting a rise in the watertable. As the sea was at least 6 km distant, this event may mark increasing rainfall near the start of the Holocene. The arrival of the sea close to the site about 7000 years ago is demonstrated by changes from a freshwater swamp to saline salt marsh, followed by succession to the low scrub swamp of the present.

Regionally, the Nothofagus rainforest, which is now restricted to small isolated stands on high parts of the promontory, expanded between 11 000 and 7000 B.P. This forest is now more extensive than at 11000 B.P. but has contracted relative to the mid-Holocene extent. From this it appears that the climate of this region during the mid-Holocene was slightly wetter than that of the early or late Holocene.

The later half of the record is in agreement with other work from the western side of Wilsons Promontory.

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