Late Pleistocene and Holocene Afromontane vegetation and headwater wetland dynamics within the Eastern Mau Forest, Kenya

Githumbi, Esther N. and Courtney Mustaphi, Colin J. and Marchant, Rob. (2021) Late Pleistocene and Holocene Afromontane vegetation and headwater wetland dynamics within the Eastern Mau Forest, Kenya. Journal of Quaternary Science, 36 (2). pp. 239-254.

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The Mau Forest Complex is Kenya's largest fragment of Afromontane forest, providing critical ecosystem services, and has been subject to intense land use changes since colonial times. It forms the upper catchment of rivers that drain into major drainage networks, thus supporting the livelihoods of millions of Kenyans and providing important wildlife areas. We present the results of a sedimentological and palynological analysis of a Late Pleistocene-Holocene sediment record of Afromontane forest change from Nyabuiyabui wetland in the Eastern Mau Forest, a highland region that has received limited geological characterization and palaeoecological study. Sedimentology, pollen, charcoal, X‐ray fluorescence and radiocarbon data record environmental and ecosystem change over the last ~16 000 cal a bp. The pollen record suggests Afromontane forests characterized the end of the Late Pleistocene to the Holocene with dominant taxa changing from Apodytes, Celtis, Dracaena, Hagenia and Podocarpus to Cordia, Croton, Ficus, Juniperus and Olea. The Late Holocene is characterized by a more open Afromontane forest with increased grass and herbaceous cover. Continuous Poaceae, Cyperaceae and Juncaceae vegetation currently cover the wetland and the water level has been decreasing over the recent past. Intensive agroforestry since the 1920s has reduced Afromontane forest cover as introduced taxa have increased (Pinus, Cupressus and Eucalyptus).
Faculties and Departments:05 Faculty of Science > Departement Umweltwissenschaften > Geowissenschaften > Geoökologie (Heiri)
UniBasel Contributors:Courtney-Mustaphi, Colin
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
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Last Modified:10 Mar 2021 09:53
Deposited On:10 Mar 2021 09:53

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