Tropical Forests and Climate

pp 65-78

History of Climate and Forests in Tropical Africa During the Last 8 Million Years

  • A. C. HamiltonAffiliated withWorld Wide Fund for Nature
  • , D. TaylorAffiliated withSchool of Geography and Earth Processes, University of Hull

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There have been major changes in climate and in the composition and distribution of forest during the last 8 Myr. During the last world glacial maximum (peak 18 000 yr B.P.) the climate was dry and cold and forest much reduced and fragmented. The last glacial period as a whole (12 000–70 000 B.P.) was dry in tropical Africa and so too were most of the other 20 major ice ages which have occurred since 2.43 Myr B.P., in comparison with intervening interglacials. The extent of forest must have oscillated greatly. There has been a general drying in climate since 8 Myr.