Synopsis top ↑
High-Andean cushion peatlands contain valuable climate information for palaeoenvironmental research. They respond very sensitively to environmental changes and therefore are ideal to apply methods such as geochemical, macrofossil and statistical evaluations in order to reconstruct palaeoclimates.
The benefits of these geoarchives are that they are comparable accross climatic gradients, that they feature high rates of accumulation and therefore time resolution and that their peat deposits are of high quality which lend themselves to precise 14C-dating.
The author is able to demonstrate that fire has played an important role in the ecology of high-altitude Andean grassland vegetation during the past millennia. Macroscopic analysis of charred particles from the sedimentary records of two high-altitude peatlands of the Eastern Cordillera of Northwestern Argentina were able to provide important information on variations in local fire regimes in the past, hence offering insights into climatic variations and the subsequent response of the high-Andean vegetation during the Holocene. The results provide evidence that Northern Hemisphere temperature oscillations were extensive and affected the intensity of moisture flux within the South American summer monsoon belt.
This study is among the first to consider plant macrofossils (tissue remains and seeds), zoological macrofossils (Neorhabdocoela and Copepoda) and fungal spores (Glomus spec.) extracted from Andean peat accumulations.