Quaternary vegetation and fire history in Australia

G. Singh, A. P. Kershaw, R. Clark

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (Book)Researchpeer-review

    183 Citations (Scopus)


    The long Lake George record demonstrates that, under the temperate conditions of the Southern Tableland, sclerophyll vegetation and associated high fire activity existed during warm interglacial and interstadial climates. The glacial maxima, however, remained tree- as well as sclerophyll shrub-free; the lack of fuel accumulation in these largely open landscapes is confirmed by an absence of charcoal evidence. The last 140 000 yr record from Lynch's Crater, in the wet tropical climate of NE Queensland, reveals that peak development of sclerophyll vegetation and fire activity on the Atherton Tableland occurred during dry glacial climates, and that interglacials were marked by the expansion of rainforests which allowed little scope for fire activity. The history of vegetation and associated fire events is outlined for pre-aboriginal and aboriginal times, ie. before and after c.32,000 yr BP. Aboriginal man would probably have already acquired experience of fire-making, and his impact on the landscape would have been marked.

    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationFire and the Australian biota
    Number of pages32
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1981

    Cite this