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Forest-savannah dynamics on the Adamawa plateau (Central Cameroon) during the “African humid period” termination: A new high-resolution pollen record from Lake Tizong

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  • Judicaël Lebamba
  • Annie Vincens
  • Anne-Marie Lézine
  • Robert Marchant
  • Guillaume Buchet


Publication details

JournalReview of Palaeobotany and Palynology
DateAccepted/In press - 2 Oct 2016
DateE-pub ahead of print - 3 Oct 2016
DatePublished (current) - Dec 2016
Pages (from-to)129-139
Early online date3/10/16
Original languageEnglish


Due to its transitional position, located between theGuineo-Congolian rain forest and the Sudanian savannah, the
Adamawa plateau of central Cameroon is ideally situated to record how forest and savannah composition and
distribution responded to changes in climate and human interactions during the Holocene. We present a
4000-yr old pollen sequence derived from the Lake Tizong sediments (7°15′N, 13°35′E, 1160 m a.s.l) analysed
at high-resolution (50 year intervals) that extends from the end of the African Humid Period to the present
day. The last 4000 years represents a critical period for understanding the environmental history of the region
as it covers the periodwhen people started to have strong impact on the surrounding ecosystems. The pollen sequence
distinguishes two short-duration forested phases that lasted between ca. 3900 and 3000 cal yr BP, and ca.
1900 and 1450 cal yr BP; these were against a backdrop of overall forest degradation from the mid-Holocene. A
critical ecological threshold occurred around 3000 cal yr BP when Poaceae reached higher percentages than forest
taxa, and savannah was established until the present day with a brief expansion of lowland semi-deciduous
forest, dominated by Myrianthus arboreus-type, between ca. 1000 and 700 cal. yr BP. Although, human impacts
and climatic factors driving vegetation change are difficult to differentiate, the late Holocene on the Adamawa
plateau was characterized by a variable climate that resulted in significant vegetation transition

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© 2016, Elsevier B.V. This is an author-produced version of the published paper. Uploaded in accordance with the publisher’s self-archiving policy.

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