Holocene palaeoenvironments of the Cederberg and Swartruggens mountains, Western Cape, South Africa : Pollen and stable isotope evidence from hyrax dung middens

Meadows, M E
Chase, B M
Seliane, M
Journal of Arid Environments
Publication Year: 
The use of pollen analysis of herbivore middens in arid and semi-arid areas has facilitated palaeoenvironmental reconstruction and interpretation in places where this may otherwise be impossible due to the absence of organic sediments. This paper presents evidence based on pollen analysis and stable isotope data of hyrax (Procavia capensis) dung middens in the reconstruction and interpretation of the Holocene vegetation history of the Cederberg and Swartruggens mountains. Hyrax middens from upland sites in the Cape Fold Mountains, specifically at Katbakkies Pass (KB) in the Swartruggens and Truitjes Kraal (TK) in the Cederberg, are used to reconstruct past vegetation and palaeoenvironments. Radiocarbon dating of a 20 cm sample at Katbakkies confirms a late Holocene sequence, with sedimentation commencing around 3700 cal yr BP and terminating within the last 600 years. At Truitjes Kraal, a smaller (11 cm) section appears to represent much of the Holocene, with accumulation spanning the period from around 9500 to 1300 cal yr BP. Stable isotope and pollen analyses concur in indicating only relatively subtle changes in vegetation conditions over the Holocene, a conclusion that is compared with and supported by other palaeoecological evidence from the region.
Name of Journal: 
Journal of Arid Environments
Resource Type: 
Document Type: 
Journal Issue/Article
Grassland Society of Southern Africa

The Grassland Society of Southern Africa (GSSA) is involved and concerned with the science and practice of range and pasture management. This broad field involves primarily the use and conservation of natural resources. It encompasses applied fields such as livestock production, wildlife management, nature conservation, water catchment management and range and mine-dump rehabilitation. The disciplines include, amongst others, ecology, botany zoology, range and pasture science, animal science, soil science and genetics. This collection includes journal articles from the African Journal of Range and Forage Science as well as related articles and reports from throughout the Southern African region.