Vegetation History and Archaeobotany

, Volume 28, Issue 1, pp 81–91 | Cite as

Changes in vegetation structure during the Pleistocene–Holocene transition in Guanajuato, central Mexico

  • Gabriela Domínguez-VázquezEmail author
  • Verónica Osuna-Vallejo
  • Valerio Castro-López
  • Isabel Israde-Alcántara
  • James A. Bischoff
Original Article


To investigate the changes in the structure and composition of the vegetation during the Pleistocene–Holocene transition, pollen and macrocharcoal analyses were carried out on samples of sediments taken from a 14.5 m core from Hoya Rincón de Parangueo, a crater lake (maar) in Guanajuato, Mexico. Fossil pollen data from the core suggest that during the last glacial maximum (LGM) the climate in central Mexico was very wet and cold, and the vegetation was open cloud forest, and fires did not occur. During the Pleistocene–Holocene transition, vegetation diversity was high in the study area, but disturbance to vegetation was observed, indicating an open habitat with fewer trees. There was an abrupt change in the composition of the vegetation during the later Holocene, likely signalling a strong change in climate. During the early Holocene the area remained wet, but there was a trend toward drier conditions that became well established at the end of the middle Holocene and into the late Holocene. As a consequence, the structure of the vegetation changed, with more taxa suggesting dryer environments, lasting until the late Holocene, when human disturbance became an important factor affecting vegetation in the area.


Last glacial maximum Vegetation Diversity Disturbance Pollen Cloud forest Tropical dry forest Shrubland 



Research grants to the first author from CIC-Universidad Michoacana de San Nicolás de Hidalgo in 2010 and 2011 and National Council of Science and Technology Grant No. 91110 to the first author are gratefully acknowledged, as are the Grant 290611 to Valerio Castro López and Grant 241179 to Verónica Osuna Vallejo. Jorge León Cortés and David Huddart are thanked for their useful comments on the manuscript. Coordinación de la Investigación Científica Grant 2010, 2011.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Universidad Michoacana de San Nicolás de Hidalgo, Facultad de Biología. Edificio R. Gral. Francisco J. Múgica. CU. Felicitas del RíoMoreliaMexico
  2. 2.Universidad Michoacana de San Nicolás de Hidalgo, INICIT. Edificio U-4. Gral. Francisco J. Múgica. CU. Felicitas del RíoMoreliaMexico
  3. 3.United States Geological SurveyMenlo ParkUSA

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