A new sedimentary sequence from Lago di Venere on Pantelleria Island, located in the Strait of Sicily between Tunisia and Sicily was recovered. Thelake is located in the coastal infra-Mediterranean vegetation belt at 2 m a.s.l. Pollen, charcoal and sedimentological analyses are used to explore linkagesamong vegetation, fire and climate at a decadal scale over the past 1200 years. A dry period from ad 800 to 1000 that corresponds to the ‘MedievalWarm Period’ (WMP) is inferred from sedimentological analysis. The high content of carbonate recorded in this period suggests a dry phase, when theratio of evaporation/precipitation was high. During this period the island was dominated by thermophilous and drought-tolerant taxa, such as Quercusilex, Olea, Pistacia and Juniperus. A marked shift in the sediment properties is recorded at ad 1000, when carbonate content became very low suggestingwetter conditions until ad 1850–1900. Broadly, this period coincides with the ‘Little Ice Age’ (LIA), which was characterized by wetter and colderconditions in Europe. During this time rather mesic conifers (i.e. Pinus pinaster), shrubs and herbs (e.g. Erica arborea and Selaginella denticulata) expanded,whereas more drought-adapted species (e.g. Q. ilex) declined. Charcoal data suggest enhanced fire activity during the LIA probably as a consequence ofanthropogenic burning and/or more flammable fuel (e.g. resinous Pinus biomass). The last century was characterized by a shift to high carbonate content,indicating a change towards drier conditions, and re-expansion of Q. ilex and Olea. The post-LIA warming is in agreement with historical documents andmeteorological time series. Vegetation dynamics were co-determined by agricultural activities on the island. Anthropogenic indicators (e.g. Cerealiatype,Sporormiella) reveal the importance of crops and grazing on the island. Our pollen data suggest that extensive logging caused the local extinction ofdeciduous Quercus pubescens around ad1750.
|Number of pages||10|
|Publication status||Published - 2013|
- Global and Planetary Change
- Earth-Surface Processes