80,000 years of climate change and forest resilience in the Eastern Mediterranean
This research aimed to systematically investigate the influence of climate variability on vegetation dynamics and landscape processses in the Bekaa Valley and on the Lebanon Mountains, Lebanon during the last glacial period. I recovered a sedimentary sequence from Aammiq Wetland, Lebanon that spanned an 80,000 year period from the termination of the last interglacial, through the last glacial period. I conducted fossil pollen and charcoal analysis to reconstruct vegetation and fire dynamics, and reconstructed landscape erosional processes from geochemical and grain analysis. Stable carbon and nitrogen isotope analysis informed on the biogeochemical effects of both biotic and abiotic changes in the catchment. Results showed that the vegetation mosaic alternated between a steppic grassland and a mixed deciduous/coniferous forest on a millennial time scale in synchrony with Dansgaard-Oeschger warming events. Sediment erosion from the mountain slopes into the wetland varied in response to these changes in tree cover. Fire activity was also closely coupled to vegetation dynamics and peaked during insolation maxima.