Charcoal chronology of the Amazon forest: A record of biodiversity preserved by ancient fires
Marimon Junior, BH
Reason for embargo
he Amazon region holds a wide variety of ethnic groups and microclimates, enabling different interactions between humans and environment. To better understand the evolution of this region, ancient remains need to be analysed by all possible means. In this context, the study of natural and/or anthropogenic fires through the analysis of carbonized remains can give information on past climate, species diversity, and human intervention in forests and landscapes. In the present work, we undertook an anthracological analysis along with the 14 C dating of charcoal fragments using accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS). Charcoal samples from forest soils collected from seven different locations in the Amazon Basin were taxonomically classified and dated. Out of the 16 groups of charcoal fragments identified, five contained more than one taxonomic type, with the Fabaceae, Combretaceae and Sapotaceae families having the highest frequencies. 14 C charcoal dates span ∼6000 years (from 6876 to 365 yr BP) among different families, with the most significant variation observed for two fragments from the same sampling location (spanning 4000 14 C yr). Some sample sets resulted in up to five different families. These findings demonstrate the importance of the association between anthracological identification and radiocarbon dating in the reconstruction of paleo-forest composition and fire history.
The authors thank the Brazilian agencies Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq), Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (CAPES), and Fundação Carlos Chagas Filho de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado do Rio de Janeiro (FAPERJ). KDM thanks CNPq for fellowship 305079/2014–0. CL thanks FAPEAM/FAPESP (09/53369-6, led by Flávia Regina Capellotto Costa) for financial support and Thaise Emílio, José Luiz Purri da Veiga Pinto, Rosineide Machado and Francislaide da Silva Costa for help with charcoal collection. TRF, BSM, and BHM acknowledge financial support from NERC (NE/N011570/1), CAPES/CNPq Science without Borders (PVE 177/2012 and PVE 401279/2014-6), CNPq/PPBio (457602/2012-0), CNPq/PELD (403725/2012-7) and the University of Exeter - College of Life and Environmental Sciences.
This is the author accepted manuscript. The final version is available from Elsevier via the DOI in this record.
Vol. 41, pp. 180 - 186