A Late Pleistocene and Holocene vegetation and environmental record from Shuangchi Maar, Hainan Province, South China
Shuangchi is a maar in the volcanic province of tropical northern Hainan Island, South China. A radiocarbon dated record of pollen, charcoal, organic carbon and some fossil algae provides a discontinuous record from its sediments covering the last 20,000 years. The fossil record is broken in places by abrupt pulses of inorganic material washed into the basin from the crater walls, presumably during periods of high magnitude storms. Last Glacial Maximum was marked by forest but with a high component of grassland, suggesting a drier and cooler climate than today. Forest recovery was rapid from about 9500 years ago and a peak in tropical rainforest taxa persisted until about 5000 years ago and this appears to represent peak warming in the region. From about 5000 years ago until present there is evidence of human impact, and fire was a tool used to clear forest. The human impact signal varies across Hainan which suggests that the level of human resource use was localised at least for several millennia. Human impact signals appear to be widespread from about 2000 years ago.