The Late Quaternary vegetational and climatic history of Easter Island

  • Flenley J
  • King A
  • Jackson J
 et al. 
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Abstract

Easter Island occupies an exceptionally isolated position in the south Pacific Ocean. It is entirely volcanic, and is famous for its giant statues. Late Quaternary sediments have been _investigated in three craters: Rano Raraku, Rano Aroi and Rano Kao, giving a continuous record over the past 30 Ka. Pollen records indicate that the island was formerly forested. Palynological and sedimentological evidence suggests a Late Pleistocene climate slightly cooler and drier than the present. Deforestation by people occurred mainly between 1200 and 800 yr BP. This may have led to an ecological disaster and to the decline of the megalithic civilization. The journal of Quaternary Science depauperation of the present native flora owes more to human activity than to isolation.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Pacific
  • Palynology
  • Quaternary
  • archaeology
  • palaeoclimate
  • palaeoecology
  • sedimentology

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Authors

  • J. R. Flenley

  • A. Sarah M. King

  • Joan Jackson

  • C. Chew

  • J. T. Teller

  • M. E. Prentice

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