Vegetation History and Archaeobotany

, Volume 27, Issue 4, pp 535–549 | Cite as

An 800 year record of mangrove dynamics and human activities in the upper Gulf of Thailand

  • Paramita PunwongEmail author
  • Sanpisa Sritrairat
  • Katherine Selby
  • Rob Marchant
  • Nathsuda Pumijumnong
  • Paweena Traiperm
Original Article


A multiproxy record comprising pollen, charcoal, loss on ignition and particle size analyses from two radiocarbon dated sediment cores from Klong Kone subdistrict on the western coast of the Gulf of Thailand provides insights on mangrove dynamics, environmental changes and human activities during the last 800 years. The mangroves were dominated by Rhizophora which indicates that the area has been influenced by the sea level from at least 820 cal bp until 720 cal bp. An intertidal area may have formed that supported mangrove development as part of an old shoreline during 820–720 cal bp. After 720 cal bp, mangroves decreased and were replaced by grasses, suggesting that a lower sea level caused the mangroves to grow closer to the sea until around 140 cal bp. Cereal pollen increased from 720 cal bp suggesting probable use of the shoreline for intensive cultivation. The mangroves were characterised by Avicennia, which increased toward the top of the 2 cores, suggesting that the mangroves then grew further inland, probably due to recent sea-level rise. Intensive human activity is recorded during the 20th century, as indicated by increased particle size, charcoal and carbonate content. At present, human activity in the area includes dams and construction as well as aquaculture.


Sea-level change Pollen Charcoal Klong Kone Dvaravati 



Appreciation is expressed to Pratueng Cheuliang, Kamalaporn Kanongdate, Siraprapha Premcharoen and Klong Kone Mangrove Conservation Center as well as Mahidol students: Sureephorn Phomplin, Ausanee Sittiwong, Naruebet Permpoon, Jutamas Yimpray and Kanpong Duangpustra for their support and assistance throughout this fieldwork. We are grateful to Sureephorn Phomplin for laboratory assistance. We would like to thank Maria Gehrels, and the Environment Department, University of York for support in the laboratory and other areas. This study was fully funded by the Thailand Research Fund (TRG 5880181) and Mahidol University. The laboratory work in York was funded by a Researcher Links Travel Grant from the Newton Fund (2015).

Supplementary material

334_2017_651_MOESM1_ESM.docx (14 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 14 KB)


  1. Admiralty Tide Tables (2014) NP203 Admiralty Tide Tables (ATT), vol 3 Indian Ocean and South China Sea (including Tidal Stream Tables). Hydrographer to the Navy, Admiralty Hydrography Department place?Google Scholar
  2. Aksornkoae S (1993) Ecology and management of mangroves. IUCN, BangkokGoogle Scholar
  3. Aksornkoae S (2004) Sustainable use and conservation of mangrove forest resources with emphasis on policy and management practices in Thailand. In: Vannucci M (ed) Mangrove management and conservation: present and future. United Nations University Press, New York, pp 149–160Google Scholar
  4. Aksornkoae S, Bird E (2010) Thailand: Gulf of Thailand Coast. In: Bird ECF (ed) Encyclopedia of the world’s coastal landforms, vol 1. Springer, Dordrecht, pp 1,135–1,140CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Alongi DM (2008) Mangrove forests: resilience, protection from tsunamis, and responses to global climate change. Estuar Coast Shelf Sci 76:1–13CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Azmy K, Edinger E, Lundberg J, Diegor W (2010) Sea level and paleotemperature records from a mid-Holocene reef on the North coast of Java, Indonesia. Int J Earth Sci 99:231–244CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Baker C (2011) Before Ayutthaya fell: economic life in an industrious society. J Siam Soc 99:38–71Google Scholar
  8. Baker C, Phongpaichit P (2014) A history of Thailand. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Ball MC (1988) Ecophysiology of mangroves. Tree 2:129–142CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Bird MI, Fifield LK, Teh TS, Chang CH, Shirlaw N, Lambeck K (2007) An inflection in the rate of early mid-Holocene eustatic sea-level rise: a new sea-level curve from Singapore. Estuar Coast Shelf Sci 71:523–536CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Bronk-Ramsey C (2009) OxCal Program v4.10. Oxford Radiocarbon Accelerator Unit, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  12. Buckley BM, Anchukaitis KJ, Penny D, Fletcher R, Cook ER, Sano M, Wichienkeeo A, Minh TT, Hong TM (2010) Climate as a contributing factor in the demise of Angkor, Cambodia. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 107:6,748–6,752CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Buckley BM, Fletcher R, Wang SY, Zottoli B, Pottier C (2014) Monsoon extremes and society over the past millennium on mainland Southeast Asia. Quat Sci Rev 95:1–19CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Buckley BM, Palakit K, Duangsathaporn K, Sanguantham P, Prasomsin P (2007) Decadal scale droughts over northwestern Thailand over the past 448 years: links to the tropical Pacific and Indian Ocean sectors. Clim Dyn 29:63–71CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Chalermwat K, Szuster BW, Flaherty M (2003) Shellfish aquaculture in Thailand. Aqua Econ Manag 7:249–261CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Chaturvedi M, Datta K, Nair PK (1998) Pollen morphology of Oryza. (Poaceae) Grana 37:79–86CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Choo-In S, Tharasawatpipat C, Kaseamsawat S, Utarasakul T (2013) Seasonal variations in surface water quality, Samut Songkram Province, Thailand. In: ICSWRM 2013:34. InternationalConferenceonSustainableWaterResourcesManagement 14–15 July 2013, Stockholm, pp 15–16Google Scholar
  18. Chumchim N (2010) Palynology of mangrove flora in Thailand. Masters thesis Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, ThailandGoogle Scholar
  19. Clark JS (1988) Particle motion and the theory of stratigraphic charcoal analysis: source area, transport, deposition, and sampling. Quat Res 30:67–80CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Cook ER, Anchukaitis KJ, Buckley BM, D’Arrigo RD, Jacoby GC, Wright WE (2010) Asian monsoon failure and megadrought during the last millennium. Science 328(5977):486–489CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Daniau AL, Harrison SP, Bartlein PJ (2010) Fire regimes during the Last Glacial. Quat Sci Rev 29:2,918–2,930CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Duarte CM, Geertz-Hansen O, Thampanya U, Terrados J, Fortes MD, Kamp-Nielsen L, Borum J, Boromthanarath S (1998) Relationship between sediment conditions and mangrove Rhizophora apiculata seedling growth and nutrient status. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 175:277–283CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Duke NC (1992) Mangrove floristics and biogeography. In: Robertson AI, Alongi DM (eds) Tropical mangrove ecosystems. American Geophysical Union, Washington DC, pp 63–100CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Ellison JC (1989) Pollen analysis of mangrove sediments as a sea-level indicator: assessment from Tongatapu, Tonga. Palaeogeogr Palaeoclimatol Palaeoecol 74:327–341CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Ellison JC (2008) Long-term retrospection on mangrove development using sediment cores and pollen analysis: A review. Aquat Bot 89:93–104CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Erdtman G (1969) Handbook of palynology. Munksgaard, CopenhagenGoogle Scholar
  27. Erftemeijer PL, Lewis RR (1999) Planting mangroves on intertidal mudflats: habitat restoration or habitat conversion. In Proceedings of the ECOTONE VIII seminar enhancing coastal ecosystems restoration for the 21st century, Ranong, Thailand, pp. 23–28Google Scholar
  28. Eslami-Andargoli L, Dale PE, Sipe N, Chaseling J (2009) Mangrove expansion and rainfall patterns in Moreton Bay, Southeast Queensland, Australia. Estuar Coast Shelf Sci 85:292–298CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Fægri K, Iversen J (1989) In: Fægri K, Kaland PE, Krzywinski K (eds) Textbook of pollen analysis. 4th edn. Wiley, ChichesterGoogle Scholar
  30. Furukawa K, Wolanski E (1996) Sedimentation in Mangrove Forests. Mangroves Salt Marshes 1:3–10CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Furukawa K, Wolanski E, Mueller H (1997) Currents and sediment transport in mangrove forests. Estuar Coast Shelf Sci 44:301–310CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Gilman EL, Ellison J, Duke NC, Field C (2008) Threats to mangroves from climate change and adaptation options: a review. Aquat Bot 89:237–250CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Grimm EC (1991) TILIA: Version 2.0.b.4 and TILIA*GRAPH: Version 2.0.b.4. Illinois State Museum, SpringfieldGoogle Scholar
  34. Grindrod J (1985) The Palynology of mangroves on a prograded shore, Princess Charlotte Bay, North Queensland, Australia. J Biogeogr 12:323–348CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Hait AK, Behling H (2009) Holocene mangrove and coastal environmental changes in the western Ganga–Brahmaputra Delta, India. Veget Hist Archaeobot 18:159–169CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Havanond S (2008) Biosphere reserves and firefly ecotourism development in Thailand. Proceedings of the joint regional seminar of the Ecotone-SeaBRnet 2007 and the 9th Conference of the China Biosphere Reserves Network (CBRN): Cultural diversity—a foundation for biodiversity conservation and sustainable development. UNESCO Office, JakartaGoogle Scholar
  37. Heiri O, Lotter AF, Lemcke G (2001) Loss on ignition as a method for estimating organic and carbonate content in sediments reproducibility and comparability of results. J Paleolimnol 25:101–110CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Hesp PA, Hung CC, Hilton M, Ming CL, Turner IM (1998) A first tentative Holocene sea-level curve for Singapore. J Coast Res 14:308–314Google Scholar
  39. Hogart PJ (1999) The biology of mangroves. Oxford University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  40. Horton BP, Gibbard PL, Mine GM, Morley RJ, Purintavaragul C, Stargardt JM (2005) Holocene sea levels and palaeoenvironments, Malay-Thai Peninsula, Southeast Asia. Holocene 15:1,199–1,213CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Hungspreugs M, Utoomprurkporn W, Sompongchaiyakul P, Heungraksa W (2002) Possible impact of dam reservoirs and river diversions on material fluxes to the Gulf of Thailand. Mar Chem 79:185–191CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Hutangkura T (2012) Pollen analysis of the Holocene sedimentary sequences from the Lower Central Plain of Thailand and its implications for understanding palaeo-environmental and phytogeographical changes. Doctoral Thesis in History, University of Nice, FranceGoogle Scholar
  43. Jackson ST, Hobbs RJ (2009) Ecological restoration in the light of ecological history. Science 325:567–569CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Kathiresan K, Rajendran N (2005) Mangrove ecosystems of the Indian Ocean region. Indian J Mar Sci 34:104–113Google Scholar
  45. Kershaw A (1997) A modification of the Troels-Smith system of sediment description and portrayal. Quat Australasia 15:63–68Google Scholar
  46. Khunsong S, Indrawooth P, Natapintu S (2011) Excavation of a pre-Dvāravatī Site at Hor-Ek in ancient Nakhon Pathom. J Siam Soc 99:150–171Google Scholar
  47. Komori D, Nakamura S, Kiguchi M et al (2012) Characteristics of the 2011 Chao Phraya river flood in central Thailand. Hydrol Res Lett 6:41–46CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Krauss KW, Lovelock CE, McKee KL, López-Hoffman L, Ewe SM, Sousa WP (2008) Environmental drivers in mangrove establishment and early development: a review. Aquat Bot 89:105–127CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Letrit S (2003) On chronology-building for central Thailand through an attribute-based ceramic seriation. Asian Perspect 42:41–71CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Li Z, Saito Y, Mao L et al (2012) Mid-Holocene mangrove succession and its response to sea-level change in the upper Mekong River delta, Cambodia. Quat Res 78:386–399CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Lieberman V, Buckley B (2012) The impact of climate on Southeast Asia, circa 950–1820: new findings. Mod Asian Stud 46:1,049–1,096CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Maita H, Nagai T, Vudhivanich V, Kwanyuen B, Ngernprasertsri S, Tangtham N, Lorsirirat K (1998) Analysis of suspended sediment yield and watershed characteristics in Mae Klong River Basin. In: Proceedings of the Workshop on Sustainable Development of Agricultural Infrastructure and Organizational Management of Chao Phraya and Mae Klong Basins, pp 38–56Google Scholar
  53. Mallinson DJ, Culver SJ, Corbett DR, Parham PR, Shazili NA, Yaacob R (2014) Holocene coastal response to monsoons and relative sea-level changes in northeast Peninsular Malaysia. J Asian Earth Sci 91:194–205CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Maloney BK, Higham CF, Bannanurag R (1989) Early rice cultivation in Southeast Asia: archaeological and palynological evidence from the Bang Pakong Valley, Thailand. Antiquity 63(239):363–370CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Mikhailov VN, Isupova MV (2008) Hypersalinization of river estuaries in West Africa. Water Resour Regime Water Bodies 35:387–405Google Scholar
  56. Mikhailov VN, Nikitina OI (2009) Hydrological and morphological processes in the Chao Phraya mouth area (Thailand) and their anthropogenic changes. Water Resour 36:613–624CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Mudar KM (1999) How many Dvaravati kingdoms? Locational analysis of first millennium ad moated settlements in central Thailand. J Anthropol Archaeol 18:1–28CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Nguyen VL, Ta TK, Tateishi M (2000) Late Holocene depositional environments and coastal evolution of the Mekong River Delta, Southern Vietnam. J Asian Earth Sci 18:427–439CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Penny D (2008) The Mekong at climatic crossroads: lessons from the geological past. AMBIO J Human Environ 37:164–169CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Piyakarnchana T (2007) The present state of mangrove ecosystems in southeast Asia and the impact of pollution. Project Report of FAO Corporate Document Repository, Fisheries Department, Department of Marine Science. Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok, Thailand. Retrieved May, 2016, from
  61. Pumijumnong N (2014) Mangrove forests in Thailand. In: Faridah-Hanum I, Latiff A, Hakeem KR, Ozturk M (eds) Mangrove Ecosystems of Asia. Springer, New York, pp 62–79Google Scholar
  62. Pumijumnong N, Eckstein D (2011) Reconstruction of pre-monsoon weather conditions in northwestern Thailand from the tree-ring widths of Pinus merkusii and Pinus kesiya. Trees 25(1):125–132CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Punwong P, Marchant R, Selby K (2013a) Holocene mangrove dynamics and environmental change in the Rufiji Delta, Tanzania. Veget Hist Archaeobot 22:381–396CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Punwong P, Marchant R, Selby K (2013b) Holocene mangrove dynamics from Unguja Ukuu, Zanzibar. Quat Int 298:4–19CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Punwong P, Marchant R, Selby K (2013c) Holocene mangrove dynamics and sea-level changes in Makoba Bay, Zanzibar. Palaeogeogr Palaeoclimatol Palaeoecol 379–380:54–67CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Reimer PJ, Bard E, Bayliss A et al (2013) IntCal13 and Marine13 Radiocarbon age calibration curves 0–50,000 Years cal bp. Radiocarbon 55:1,869–1,887CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Rucina SM, Muiruri VM, Kinyanjui RN, McGuiness K, Marchant R (2009) Late Quaternary vegetation and fire dynamics on Mount Kenya. Palaeogeogr Palaeoclimatol Palaeoecol 283:1–14CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  68. Sanders CJ, Smoak JM, Waters MN, Sanders LM, Brandini N, Patchineelam SR (2012) Organic matter content and particle size modifications in mangrove sediments as responses to sea level rise. Mar Environ Res 77:150–155CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Santisuk T (1983) Taxonomy and distribution of terrestrial trees and shrubs in the mangrove formations in Thailand. Nat Hist Bull Siam Soc 31:63–91Google Scholar
  70. Scheffers A, Brill D, Kelletat D, Brückner H, Scheffers S, Fox K (2012) Holocene sea levels along the Andaman Sea coast of Thailand. Holocene 22:1,169–1,180CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  71. Scoffin TP, Tissier MDAL (1998) Late Holocene sea level and reef-flat progradation, Phuket, South Thailand. Coral Reefs 17:273–276CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  72. Shimoda T, Fujioka Y, Sakami T, Srithong C, Aryuthaka C (2009) Assessment of the water purification ability of mangrove (Sonneratia caseolaris) in mesocosm tanks. Japan Agric Res Q 43:145–156CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Sinsakul S (1992) Evidence of quarternary sea level changes in the coastal areas of Thailand: a review. J Southeast Asian Earth Sci 7:23–37CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Sinsakul S (2000) Late Quaternary geology of the lower central plain, Thailand. J Asian Earth Sci 18:415–426CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Somboon JPR, Thiramongkol N (1992) Holocene highstand shoreline of the Chao Phraya delta, Thailand. J Southeast Asian Earth Sci 7:53–60CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Songtham W, Musika S, Mildenhall DC, Cochran UA, Kojevnikova D (2015) Development of the lower Central Plain of Thailand with history of human settlements: evidence from pollen, spores and diatoms. J Geol Res Eng 2:98–107Google Scholar
  77. Spalding M, Kainuma M, Collins L (2010) World atlas of mangroves. Earthscan, LondonGoogle Scholar
  78. Stattegger K, Tjallingii R, Saito Y, Michelli M, Thanh NT, Wetzel A (2013) Mid to late Holocene sea-level reconstruction of Southeast Vietnam using beachrock and beach-ridge deposits. Glob Planet Chang 110:214–222CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. Tamura T, Saito Y, Sieng S, Ben B, Kong M, Sim I, Choup S, Akiba F (2009) Initiation of the Mekong River delta at 8 ka: evidence from the sedimentary succession in the Cambodian lowland. Quat Sci Rev 28:327–344CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  80. Tanabe S, Saito Y, Sato Y, Suzuki Y, Sinsakul S, Tiyapairach S, Chaimanee N (2003a) Stratigraphy and Holocene evolution of the mud-dominated Chao Phraya delta, Thailand. Quat Sci Rev 22:789–807CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  81. Tanabe S, Ta TKO, Nguyen VL, Tateishi M, Kobayashi I, Saito Y (2003b) Delta evolution model inferred from the Holocene Mekong delta, southern Vietnam. In: Sidi FH, Nummedal D, Imbert P, Darman H, Posamentier HW (eds) Tropical deltas of southeast Asia–sedimentology, stratigraphy, and petroleum geology. (SEPM Special Publication 76) Society for Sedimentary Geology,Tulsa, pp 175–188Google Scholar
  82. Terwiel B (2007) The physical transformation of the central Thai region in premodern times. In: Bankhoff G, Boomgaard P (eds) A history of natural resources in Asia: the wealth of nature. Palgrave Macmillan, Basingstoke, pp 41–60CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  83. Thanikaimoni G (1987) Mangrove palynology. Institut Francais de Pondichery, IndiaGoogle Scholar
  84. Tinner W, Hu FS (2003) Size parameters, size-class distribution and area-number relationship of microscopic charcoal: relevance for fire reconstruction. Holocene 13:499–505CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  85. Tjia HD (1996) Sea-level changes in the tectonically stable Malay-Thai Peninsula. Quat Int 31:95–101CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  86. Tomlinson PB (1986) The botany of mangroves. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  87. Tookwinas S (2004) Mitigation plan on the use of mangroves for aquaculture: Thailand. In: Promotion of mangrove-friendly shrimp aquaculture in Southeast Asia. Aquaculture Department, Southeast Asian Fisheries Development Center, Tigbauan, pp 160–167Google Scholar
  88. Tossou MG, Akoègninou A, Ballouche A, Sowunmi MA, Akpagana K (2008) The history of the mangrove vegetation in Bénin during the Holocene: A palynological study. J Afr Earth Sci 52:167–174CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  89. Trisirisatayawong I, Naeije M, Simons W, Fenoglio-Marc L (2011) Sea level change in the Gulf of Thailand from GPS-corrected tide gauge data and multi-satellite altimetry. Glob Planet Chang 76:137–151CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  90. Troels-Smith J (1955) Karakterising af løse jordater (Characterisation of unconsolidated sediments), 10. Reitzel, KøbenhavnGoogle Scholar
  91. Umitsu M, Tiyapairach S, Chaimanee N, Kawase K (2002) Late Holocene sea-level change and evolution of the Central Plain, Thailand. In: Mantajit N, Potisat S, Wongwanich T (eds) The Symposium on Geology of Thailand, 26–31 August 2002, Bangkok, Thailand. Department of Mineral Resources, Bangkok, pp 26–31Google Scholar
  92. Walling D, Fang D (2003) Recent trends in the suspended sediment loads of the world’s rivers. Glob Planet Chang 39:111–126CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  93. Watson JG (1928) Mangrove forests of the Malay Peninsula. Fraser and Neave, SingaporeGoogle Scholar
  94. Wright IA, Davies PJ, Findlay SJ, Jonasson OJ (2011) A new type of water pollution: concrete drainage infrastructure and geochemical contamination of urban waters. Mar Freshw Res 62:1,355–1,361CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Paramita Punwong
    • 1
    • 3
    Email author
  • Sanpisa Sritrairat
    • 1
  • Katherine Selby
    • 2
  • Rob Marchant
    • 3
  • Nathsuda Pumijumnong
    • 1
  • Paweena Traiperm
    • 4
  1. 1.Faculty of Environment and Resource StudiesMahidol UniversitySalayaThailand
  2. 2.Environment DepartmentUniversity of YorkYorkUK
  3. 3.York Institute of Tropical Ecosystems, Environment DepartmentUniversity of YorkYorkUK
  4. 4.Department of Plant Science, Faculty of ScienceMahidol UniversityBangkokThailand

Personalised recommendations