Recovery of the forest ecosystem in the tropical lowlands of northern Guatemala after disintegration of Classic Maya polities

Mueller, Andreas D. and Islebe, Gerald A. and Anselmetti, Flavio S. and Ariztegui, Daniel and Brenner, Mark and Hodell, David A. and Hajdas, Irka and Hamann, Yvonne and Haug, Gerald H. and Kennett, Douglas J. (2010) Recovery of the forest ecosystem in the tropical lowlands of northern Guatemala after disintegration of Classic Maya polities. Geology, 38 (6). pp. 523-526. DOI 10.1130/G30797.1

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Abstract

We employed paleolimnological methods to investigate tropical forest recovery and soil stabilization that followed abandonment of agricultural systems associated with disintegration of Classic Maya polities ca. A.D. 800-1000. We used lithological, geochemical, magnetic, and palynological data from sediment cores of Lake Peten Itza in the Maya Lowlands of northern Guatemala. Sediment core chronology was developed using radiocarbon dates on terrestrial wood and charcoal fragments. Our results indicate that in the absence of large human populations and extensive farming activities, Peten forests recovered under humid climate conditions within a span of 80-260 yr. Soil stabilization postdates pollen evidence of forest regrowth stratigraphically, and required between 120 and 280 yr. We conclude that the tropical forest ecosystem in the watershed of Lake Peten Itza had been reestablished by the early Postclassic Period (A.D. 1000-1200).

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 2010AREP; IA62;
Subjects: 01 - Climate Change and Earth-Ocean Atmosphere Systems
Divisions: 01 - Climate Change and Earth-Ocean Atmosphere Systems
Journal or Publication Title: Geology
Volume: 38
Page Range: pp. 523-526
Identification Number: 10.1130/G30797.1
Depositing User: Sarah Humbert
Date Deposited: 04 Jun 2011 13:08
Last Modified: 23 Jul 2013 10:02
URI: http://eprints.esc.cam.ac.uk/id/eprint/2079

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