Dynamics of the Andean vegetation of lake Argentino (50° S, 72° W) since glaciers retreat (ca. 12,000 cal years BP)

Gonzalo D. Sottile, Marcos E. Echeverría, Marcela S. Tonello, María A. Marcos, Florencia P. Bamonte, Cecilia Rayó, María V. Mancini


Paleoecological studies in Patagonia provide information about vegetation and climate changes occurred during the Holocene. The climatic evolution of this region offers a unique opportunity to study the environmental variability as well as the ecosystem variations. The dynamic of the forest ecosystems is modulated by the occurrence of disturbances. Fires are one of the most important disturbances in temperate forest ecosystems, and its study allows contrasting independently about the changes experienced by ecosystems. In addition, in Patagonia, environmental and postglacial vegetation changes have been determined by variations in the temperature and westerlies winds. In order to reconstruct changes experienced by the forest ecosystem and patterns of plant diversity during the Holocene, in relation to Postglacial dynamics, natural and anthropic disturbances in the Lake Argentino, pollen and charcoal were studied in a sedimentary sequence at Península Avellaneda. Pollen assemblages suggest non-cyclic changes in plant diversity during the Holocene. The highly diverse cold grass-shrub communities dominated the area up to the Early Holocene, when they were displaced upland by less diverse forest and steppes. Also, The Early and Midd-Holocene was characterized by opposite variations of hydric balance between Andean and extra-andean plant communities present between 48° and 50° S, whereas fire activity occurs synchronously between forest (Andean) and steppe communities (Extra-andean). Late Holocene is characterized by different proxy signals depending on the geographical location of the paleoecological records. To conclude, this work provides a better understanding of the fossil pollen record by its comparison with modern surface pollen samples along an altitudinal vegetation gradient.


Holocene; Patagonia; Pollen; Fire history; Paleoecology

How to cite this article Sottile, G.; Echeverría, M.; Tonello, M.; Marcos, M.; Bamonte, F.; Rayó, C.; Mancini, M. 2020, Dynamics of the Andean vegetation of lake Argentino (50° S, 72° W) since glaciers retreat (ca. 12,000 cal years BP). Andean Geology 47 (3): 599-627. [doi:]