A Long Pollen Record from Lowland Amazonia: Forest and Cooling in Glacial Times

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Science  04 Oct 1996:
Vol. 274, Issue 5284, pp. 85-88
DOI: 10.1126/science.274.5284.85


A continuous pollen history of more than 40,000 years was obtained from a lake in the lowland Amazon rain forest. Pollen spectra demonstrate that tropical rain forest occupied the region continuously and that savannas or grasslands were not present during the last glacial maximum. The data suggest that the western Amazon forest was not fragmented into refugia in glacial times and that the lowlands were not a source of dust. Glacial age forests were comparable to modern forests but also included species now restricted to higher elevations by temperature, suggesting a cooling of the order of 5° to 6°C.