1st Edition

Quaternary Vegetation Dynamics The African Pollen Database

    438 Pages 40 Color & 50 B/W Illustrations
    by CRC Press

    This book celebrates the relaunch of the African Pollen Database, presents state-of-the-art of modern and ancient pollen data from sub-Saharan Africa, and promotes Open Access science. Pollen grains are powerful tools for the study of past vegetation dynamics because they preserve well within sedimentary deposits and have a huge diversity in ornamentation that allows different taxa to be determined. The reconstruction of past vegetation from the examination of ancient pollen records thus can be used to characterize the nature of past landscapes (e.g. abundance of forests vs. grasslands), provide insights into changes in biodiversity, and gain empirical evidence of vegetation response to climatic change and human activity. In this, the 35th Volume of "Palaeoecology of Africa", we bring together new data and extensive synthetic reviews to provide novel insights into the relationships between human evolution, human activity, climate change and vegetation dynamics during the Quaternary, the last 2.6 million years.
    Current and ongoing climate and land-use change is exerting pressure on modern vegetation formations and threatening the livelihoods and wellbeing of many peoples in Africa. In this book the focus is on the Quaternary because it is during this geological period that the modern vegetation formations developed into their current configurations against a backdrop of high magnitude global climate change (glacial-interglacial cycles), human evolution, and a growing human land-use footprint. In this book the latest information is presented and collated from around the African continent to parameterize past vegetation states, identify the drivers of vegetation change, and assess the vegetation resilience to change. To achieve this research from two broad themes are covered: (i) the present is the key to the past (i.e. studies which improve our understanding of modern environments so that we can better interpret evidence from the past), and (ii) the past is the key to the future (i.e. studies which unlock information on how and why vegetation changed in the past so one can better anticipate trajectories of future change).
    This Open Access book will provide a strong foundation for future research exploring past ecological, environmental and climatic change within Africa and the surrounding islands. The book is organized regionally (covering western, eastern, central, and southern Africa) and it contains specialized articles focused on particular topics (such as modern pollen-vegetation relationships and fire as a driver of vegetation change), as well as regional and pan-African syntheses drawing together decades of research to assess key scientific questions (including the role of climate in driving vegetation change and the role of vegetation change in human evolution). These articles will be useful to students and teachers from high school to the highest level of university who are interested in the origins and dynamics of vegetation in Africa. Furthermore, it is also meant to provide societally relevant information that can act as an inspiration for the development of sustainable management practices for the future.

    1. Rise of the Palaeoecology of Africa series

    2. The African Pollen Database (APD) and tracing environmental change: State of the Art

    3. Preliminary evidence for green, brown and black worlds in tropical western Africa during the Middle and Late Pleistocene

    4. Holocene high-altitude vegetation dynamics on Emi Koussi, Tibesti Mountains (Chad, Central Sahara)

    5. Timing and nature of the end of the African Humid Period in the Sahel: Insight from pollen data

    6. Changes in the West African landscape at the end of the African Humid Period

    7. Reconstructing vegetation history of the Olorgesailie Basin during the Middle to Late Pleistocene using phytolith data

    8. Sedimentological, palynological and charcoal analyses of the hydric palustrine sediments from the Lielerai-Kimana wetlands, Kajiado, southern Kenya

    9. The new Garba Guracha palynological se-quence: Revision and data expansion

    10. Lower to Mid-Pliocene pollen data from East African hominid sites, a review

    11. Ecosystem change and human-environment interactions of Arabia

    12. The challenge of pollen-based quantitative reconstruction of Holocene plant cover in tropical regions: A pilot study in Cameroon

    13. A Holocene pollen record from Mboandong, a crater lake in lowland Cameroon

    14. Future directions of palaeoecological research in the hyper-diverse Cape Floristic Region: The role of palynological studies

    15. An atlas of southern African pollen types and their climatic affinities

    16. Pollen productivity estimates from KwaZulu-Natal Drakensberg, South Africa

    17. Modern pollen-vegetation relationships in the Drakensberg Mountains, South Africa

    18. A Late Holocene pollen and microcharcoal record from Eilandvlei, southern Cape coast, South Africa

    19. A ~650 year pollen and microcharcoal record from Vankervelsvlei, South Africa

    20. Pollen records of the 14th and 20th centuries AD from Lake Tsizavatsy in southwest Madagascar

    21. Modern pollen studies from tropical Africa and their use in palaeoecology

    22. Vegetation response to millennial- and orbital-scale climate changes in Africa:
    A view from the Ocean

    23. Inside-of-Africa: How landscape openness shaped Homo sapiens evolution by facilitating dispersal and gene-flow in Middle and Late Pleistocene Africa

    24. The role of palaeoecology in conserving African ecosystems


    Jürgen Runge is a Professor of Physical Geography and Geoecology at the Goethe-University Frankfurt, Germany. He is the director of the Centre for Interdisciplinary African Studies (ZIAF). As an environmentalist and consultant, he has worked for many years in West and Central Africa on the evolution of tropical landscapes, former and recent climate changes. He is the editor of the series "Palaeoecology of Africa" and a member in several scientific editorial boards. The outcome of his studies has been used for regional planning (land use, infrastructure, management of natural resources). From 2007-2010 he was working for the German International Cooperation (GIZ) leading a subregional project on geological resources, transparency and good governance in Africa. Currently, he is involved in capacity development measures such as international summer schools and training workshops.

    William D. Gosling is an Associate Professor in Palaeoecology at the University of Amsterdam and Head of the Department of Ecosystem & Landscape Dynamics. Throughout his research and education William seeks to place current concerns related to on-going, and projected, climate change into a long-term context by examining multiple aspects of the sedimentary record of past environmental change. He is an expert in tropical pollen and environmental change during the Quaternary (last 2.6 million years). He seeks to gain insights into past ecosystem function through combining regional vegetation histories generated from pollen records obtained from sedimentary archives with other lines of evidence, including: ancient charcoal (fire history), phytoliths (local vegetation change), and organic geochemistry (plant response to environmental change). William has been working on African projects since 2007 when he was invited to join the team investigating the sedimentary core recovered from Lake Bosumtwi (Ghana). Unravelling the complex pollen record from Bosumwti lead William to spend time working with one of the pioneers of palaeoecology in Africa, the late Prof. Daniel Livingstone, and to establishing a modern pollen trapping program across the forest-savannah vegetation gradient in West Africa.

    Anne-Marie Lézine is senior scientist at the French National Centre for Scientific Research in Paris. As a specialist in past vegetation dynamics and climate reconstructions from pollen and hydrological data she has a about 40-years of experience in tropical Africa and surrounding regions. Trained in Marseille (France) where she got her PhD in 1987, she initially studied the Holocene environments of Ethiopia. Then she focused her research on arid (deserts from the Sahara (Mauritania, Algeria, Chad) and the Rub al Khali (Yemen, Oman)) and semi-arid regions (Senegal). Since 2007, she has been moving towards the Equator. Her studies include the 90,000 years long pollen record of Lake Bambili, and other lake deposits from the Cameroon highlands. Her studies have been used for biome, land cover and climate reconstructions. Apart from her scientific skill, Anne-Marie is the coordinator of the African Pollen Database since its early beginning in 1994.

    Louis Scott is a researcher and mentor at the Department of Plant Sciences at the University of the Free State, Bloemfontein, South Africa. Following initial research on Cretaceous pollen and spores, he graduated in 1979 under E. M. van Zinderen Bakker and J. A. Coetzee, previous editors of PoA, with a PhD in Botany at the University of the Free State with a dissertation on late Quaternary fossil pollen from thermal spring and swamp deposits from the Limpopo and Gauteng provinces, South Africa. Following an early sabbatical in Tucson, at the University of Arizona, and a research visit to Marion Island, Southern Ocean, he continued to study Quaternary and older palaeoenvironments in South Africa, Namibia and Botswana. His studies include long pollen records from the Tswaing Crater lake, hominid and other cave deposits, hyena coprolites and fossil hyrax dung middens.