Environmental Earth Sciences

, Volume 74, Issue 4, pp 3559–3572 | Cite as

Vegetational and climatic variations during the past 3100 years in southern India: evidence from pollen, magnetic susceptibility and particle size data

  • Amalava Bhattacharyya
  • Kizhur SandeepEmail author
  • Sandhya Misra
  • Rajasekhariah Shankar
  • Anish K. Warrier
  • Zhou Weijian
  • Lu Xuefeng
Original Article


Vegetational history vis a vis climate change during the past 3100 cal. years BP was deciphered from pollen data supplemented with magnetic susceptibility and particle size data for a 2.5 m long sediment core from Pookot Lake, Kerala, southern India. Pollen data suggest a mixed assemblage of upland tropical elements and wetland mangrove taxa. The presence of trace amounts of pollen grains of montane taxa like Betula, Pinus and Alnus points to their long distance dispersal. Pollen grains of Ixora, Syzygium, Symplocos, Moraceae and Arecaceae that represent tropical vegetation were also recovered, indicating modern vegetation in and around Pookot Lake. Mangrove elements are mostly represented by species of Rhizophora and Ceriops decandra along with other taxa. High-rainfall periods are characterised by high sand % and low clay % and vice versa. The pollen data correspond well with magnetic susceptibility and particle size data. The data obtained suggest three broad phases of climate, with minor oscillations, during the past 3100 cal. years BP: (1) wet climate during 3100–2500 cal. years BP; (2) dry climate spanning a long period that ended around 1000 cal. years BP; (3) amelioration in climate after 1000 cal. years BP, reflected in the presence of luxuriant vegetation and high magnetic susceptibility values.


Pollen Palaeovegetation Magnetic susceptibility Pookot Lake Southern India 



KS thanks UGC (University Grants Commission), New Delhi, for financial assistance in the form of Junior and Senior Research Fellowships. AKW thanks the Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), Government of India, for a senior research fellowship. The magnetic instruments used in this study were procured from grants made available by the erstwhile Department of Ocean Development (now Ministry of Earth Sciences), Government of India, through a research project to RS (DOD Sanction no.: DOD/11-MRDF/1/48/P/94-ODII/12-10-96). We thank Jobish, Harshavardhana, B. G., Binu and Thomas for their assistance during field work and collection of cores. Avinash Kumar helped in preparing the topographic map of Pookot Lake. The Director, BSIP, Lucknow permitted pollen analyses at the institute. ISRO-IGBP provided financial support to carry out this investigation.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Birbal Sahni Institute of PalaeobotanyLucknowIndia
  2. 2.Department of Marine GeologyMangalore UniversityMangalagangotriIndia
  3. 3.Department of Post-Graduate Studies and Research in GeologyGovernment College KasaragodKasaragodIndia
  4. 4.ESSO-National Centre for Antarctic and Ocean ResearchMinistry of Earth Sciences, Government of IndiaVasco da GamaIndia
  5. 5.Xi’an AMS Center, Institute of Earth EnvironmentXi’anChina
  6. 6.Indian Institute of TechnologyGandhinagarIndia

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