Paleoenvironments and Fire Regimes in Prehistoric South West Australia
The Southwest Botanical Province of Western Australia has one of the most diverse vegetation assemblages in the world. It has been suggested that the relatively high diversity in Southwestern Australia may be because it was subject to less disturbance than Southeastern Australia at the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM), when Australia’s climate became colder and more arid. If this is the case, and the vegetation types of the southwest were established in the early Holocene, then the main factors driving vegetative change since the LGM are likely to be rainfall and anthropogenic fire regime. To verify these assumptions, an investigation of the pollen and charcoal record of the southwest is required. This paper details an ongoing palynological study with preliminary results regarding the relationship between Aboriginal people and the environment, in particular their impact on vegetation in the last 6000 years.
Keywords: Palynology, Pollen, Paleoenvironment, Holocene, Environment, Fire Regime
PhD Candidate, School of Social and Cultural Studies