A 4,200-year record of fire history from the southern Pacific Costa Rica lowlands

Authors: Erik Johanson*, Florida Atlantic University, Mathew Kerr, University of Tennessee, Sally Horn, University of Tennessee, Luke Blentlinger, University of Tennessee, Chad Lane, University of North Carolina Wilmington
Topics: Paleoenvironmental Change, Biogeography, Climatology and Meteorology
Keywords: paleoenvironment, fire history, paleoclimate, proxy
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/4/2019
Start / End Time: 1:10 PM / 2:50 PM
Room: Coolidge, Marriott, Mezzanine Level
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


We present a high-resolution record of late Holocene (Meghalayan) fire history from the lowlands of southern Pacific Costa Rica. Our 4,200-year lake sediment record from Laguna Los Mangos captures changes in land-use history over time and the introduction of maize agriculture to the Gran Chiriquí archaeological region at 3,350 cal yr BP. We conducted macroscopic charcoal analysis at 1-cm intervals for the 752cm profile with a sampling resolution of ~5 years. Our results are compared to existing pollen, microscopic charcoal, XRF, and bulk stable carbon isotope data from the same core. The fire regime of the pre-maize agricultural landscape (4,200–3350 cal yr BP) is contrasted with the maize agricultural landscape regime (3350 cal yr BP to present with varying intensity). We further explore the role of the Terminal Classic Drought and Little Ice Age on the fire history of the lowland region.

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