Late Holocene environmental change in an upper montane area of the Snowy Mountains, New South Wales

S.D. Mooney, J.R. Watson, John Dodson

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    10 Citations (Web of Science)


    This Study examines environmental change in the upper montane zone of the Australian Eastern Highlands during the late Holocene, by analysing vegetation, fire and erosion records contained within a small fen located in a frost hollow. Differences in environmental parameters across the prehistoric-historic boundary were particularly investigated in an attempt to characterise better the changes associated with the imposition of European land-use practices. Decreases in arboreal pollen and an increased charcoal concentration near the base of the analysed sequence, interpreted to be about 1600 y BP until about 1300 y BP, are suggestive of reduced moisture availability. After this, a period of relative stability continued to the close of the prehistoric period. The arrival of Europeans in the region triggered changes in the sediment record, including an increase in the accumulation of sediment by an order of magnitude, and changes in the surrounding vegetation. Saturated isothermal remnant magnetism (SIRM) was found to be significantly higher in the historic period compared to the analysed prehistoric period, suggesting an alteration in the erosional processes within the catchment. The concentration of charcoal was comparable between the prehistoric and historic periods; however, the increased sedimentation rate of the historic period infers an increased accumulation of charcoal. Fire did not appear to be related to the vegetation changes evident in the historic period, perhaps due to the use of cool fires by the pastoralists.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)185-200
    JournalAustralian Geographer
    Publication statusPublished - 1997


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