Prehistoric human impact on the Central African rainforest
Previous efforts to understand the dynamics of Central African forest led to the conclusion that this forest has been subject to large pressures from both climatic disturbances and fires in the past, and that forest composition in some regions may reflect the successional stage that the forest is in following recovery from previous disturbance. Pollen records show that a major decrease in primary forest trees occurred during the late Holocene (3000 to 2500 yr BP), and that some areas converted to savannas (Maley 2002). There is also evidence for past fires, especially in the last thousand years (Brncic et al. 2007; Brncic et al. 2009). However, the mechanisms behind the spatial dynamics of past land cover change are not yet fully understood for this region.
In this context, this project is using a combination of ecology, palaeoecology, remote sensing, and botany to analyse:
- The spatial extent of forest-savanna mosaic and its changes trough time,
- Vegetation resilience to climate change
- Differences in fire patterns according to different forest types
- Response of Marantaceae forest and Gilbertiodendron forest to fire regimes