Late Quaternary reconstructions from the Eastern Arc Mountains

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Vegetation response to climate change and ecosystem dynamics

This study attempts for the first time the use of multi-proxy records from the Eastern Arc Mountain sites to contribute an understanding of past and present environments at regional and local climate, and environmental change spanning the last 50.0 kyr BP.

One hypothesis based on inference records indicates that the Eastern Arc forests have been subject to an exceptionally long period of climatic stability; an ‘ecological Eden’ whose biota has survived the tectonic events of the Miocene and Pliocene, and later Pleistocene climatic vicissitudes.

The work emphasises the period during the last 20,000 years (Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) to Present.

During the LGM, the Eastern Arc Mountain ranges showed benign ecological stability suggesting that they were important refuge blocs and this has driven present floristic composition and distribution.

Results from this study have implications for present-day land management and enable policies to be developed that incorporate the long-term perspective on the ecological form and functioning of vegetation and environment.

This work concludes with recommendations how palaeoecology is an invaluable tool in understanding vegetation and climate.

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