Insights into past land-use and vegetation change in the Llanos de Moxos (Bolivia) using fungal non-pollen palynomorphs

Loughlin, Nicholas, Mayle, Francis E., Nuñez Otaño, Noelia B., O'Keefe, Jennifer M.K., Duncan, Neil A., Walker, John H. and Whitney, Bronwen (2021) Insights into past land-use and vegetation change in the Llanos de Moxos (Bolivia) using fungal non-pollen palynomorphs. Journal of Archaeological Science, 130. p. 105382. ISSN 0305-4403

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Here we document a 1000-year fungal record from the raised-field region of the Llanos de Moxos, a seasonally inundated forest-savanna mosaic in the Bolivian Amazon. Fungi are extremely sensitive to changes in vegetation due to their close relationship with the local environment, providing a useful proxy for past local vegetation and land-use change. Here the remains of fungal non-pollen palynomorphs (NPPs) are identified from a sediment core taken from Laguna El Cerrito. A multivariate constrained ordination is used to extract relationships between the fungal NPP types and environmental gradients, specifically, tree cover, near-shore vegetation, crop cultivation, burning and local sediment input. NPP types such as Neurospora cf. cerealis are identified as indicative of pre-European agriculture and offer the ability to expand on the temporal range of cultivation in the raised-field region. Constrained cluster analysis indicates that the most significant changes in the NPP assemblage occurs c. 1500 and c. 1700 CE, corresponding to the arrival of Europeans to the Americas and Jesuit missionaries to the Llanos de Moxos respectively. The modern savanna landscape is one shaped by changes in land-use and the introduction of cattle following the European Encounter.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Funding information: Funding for this research was provided through a collaborative partnership between the National Science Foundation (United States) (1758273) and the Arts and Humanities Research Council (United Kingdom) (AH/S00128X/1) through a grant to BSW, JHW and NAD. Fieldwork was funded by a Leverhulme Trust (United Kingdom) research project grant (F/00158/CH) awarded to FEM. Radiocarbon dates were granted by the Natural Environment Research Council radiocarbon facility to FEM (1527.1010/1623.0312).
Uncontrolled Keywords: Pre-Columbian, Palaeoecology, Amazon, Llanos de Moxos, Raised-field agriculture, Non-pollen palynomorphs, Fungi
Subjects: D400 Agriculture
F400 Forensic and Archaeological Science
F800 Physical and Terrestrial Geographical and Environmental Sciences
Department: Faculties > Engineering and Environment > Geography and Environmental Sciences
Depositing User: Elena Carlaw
Date Deposited: 05 May 2021 15:28
Last Modified: 31 Jul 2021 16:05

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