Fire and vegetation history on Santa Rosa Island, Channel Islands, and long-term environmental change in southern California

Journal of Quaternary Science
By: , and 

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Abstract

The long-term history of vegetation and fire was investigated at two locations – Soledad Pond (275 m; from ca. 12 000 cal. a BP) and Abalone Rocks Marsh (0 m; from ca. 7000 cal. a BP) – on Santa Rosa Island, situated off the coast of southern California. A coastal conifer forest covered highlands of Santa Rosa during the last glacial, but by ca. 11 800 cal. a BP Pinus stands, coastal sage scrub and grassland replaced the forest as the climate warmed. The early Holocene became increasingly drier, particularly after ca. 9150 cal. a BP, as the pond dried frequently, and coastal sage scrub covered the nearby hillslopes. By ca. 6900 cal. a BP grasslands recovered at both sites. Pollen of wetland plants became prominent at Soledad Pond after ca. 4500 cal. a BP, and at Abalone Rocks Marsh after ca. 3465 cal. a BP. Diatoms suggest freshening of the Abalone Rocks Marsh somewhat later, probably by additional runoff from the highlands. Introduction of non-native species by ranchers occurred subsequent to AD 1850. Charcoal influx is high early in the record, but declines during the early Holocene when minimal biomass suggests extended drought. A general increase occurs after ca. 7000 cal. a BP, and especially after ca. 4500 cal. a BP. The Holocene pattern closely resembles population levels constructed from the archaeological record, and suggests a potential influence by humans on the fire regime of the islands, particularly during the late Holocene.

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Additional publication details

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Fire and vegetation history on Santa Rosa Island, Channel Islands, and long-term environmental change in southern California
Series title Journal of Quaternary Science
DOI 10.1002/jqs.1358
Volume 25
Issue 5
Year Published 2009
Language English
Publisher Wiley
Contributing office(s) Volcano Science Center
Description 16 p.
First page 782
Last page 797
Country United States
State California
Other Geospatial Santa Rosa Island