Chapter

Past Climate Variability through Europe and Africa

Volume 6 of the series Developments in Paleoenvironmental Research pp 181-198

Palaeoenvironments, palaeoclimates and landscape development in Atlantic Equatorial Africa: a review of key sites covering the last 25 kyrs

  • Hilaire ElengaAffiliated withFaculté des Sciences, Université Marien Ngouabi
  • , Jean MaleyAffiliated withPaléoenvironnements et Palynologie, Université Montpellier
  • , Annie VincensAffiliated withCentre Européen de Recherche et d'Enseignement, de Géosciences de l’ Environement (CEREGE), University of Aix-Marseille II
  • , Isabelle FarreraAffiliated withPaléoenvironnements et Palynologie, Université Montpellier

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The pollen data available for the Atlantic equatorial African region indicate that during the Late Quaternary, major climate changes occurred and caused important modifications in tropical lowland rain-forest in terms of composition and distribution (Maley 1991; Elenga et al. 1991; 1994; Farrera et al. 1999; Vincens et al. 1999). Nevertheless, despite a wealth of proxy evidence from various disciplines, there are very few terrestrial sites dated continuously since the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) to the Late Holocene in this area (e.g., Lanfranchi and Schwartz (1990), Servant and Servant-Vildary (2000)). The oldest radiocarbon-dated sites are from Lake Barombi Mbo in Cameroon (Brenac 1988; Maley 1991; Maley and Brenac 1998a) and the Ngamakala Pond in the Congo (Elenga et al. 1994), although most Holocene sequences from this area start during the mid-Holocene (Vincens et al. 1999). This paper reviews the results available for some key sites, allowing regional correlations for major Late Quaternary periods.We have focused on the vegetation changes and the climate related to these changes. Numerous radiocarbon dates allowprecise palaeoenvironmental reconstructions, especially since the mid-Holocene to be made. In this paper all 14C dates are uncalibrated.