A high-resolution record of vegetation and climate through the last glacial cycle from Caledonia Fen, southeastern highlands of Australia
A blocked tributary has provided a rare site of long-term sediment accumulation in montane southeastern Australia. This site has yielded a continuous, detailed pollen record through the last ca. 140 000 years and revealed marked vegetation and environmental changes at orbital to sub-millennial scales. Radiocarbon and optically stimulated luminescence (OSL, or optical) ages provide some chronological control for the last ca. 70 000 years. Most of the sediment is inorganic but with well preserved pollen that accumulated under unproductive and probably largely ice-covered lake conditions. The lake was surrounded by low-growing plants with an alpine character. Exceptions include three discrete periods of high organic sedimentation in the basin and forest development in the surrounding catchment. The two major periods of forest expansion are related to the last interglacial and the Holocene, with the third, shorter period considered to represent an interstadial in the early part of Marine Isotope Stage (MIS) 3. The latter part of the last glacial period is characterised by abrupt sub-millennial, amelioration events that may relate to documented global oscillations emanating from the North Atlantic. There are systematic changes through the record that can be partly attributed to basin infilling but the progressive reduction and regional extinction of some plant taxa is attributed to a long-term trend towards climatic drying. Copyright#2007 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.