The long-term history of vegetation and fire was investigated at two locations – Soledad Pond (275 m; from ca. 12 000 cal. a BP) and Abalone Rocks Marsh (0 m; from ca. 7000 cal. a BP) – on Santa Rosa Island, situated off the coast of southern California. A coastal conifer forest covered highlands of Santa Rosa during the last glacial, but by ca. 11 800 cal. a BP Pinus stands, coastal sage scrub and grassland replaced the forest as the climate warmed. The early Holocene became increasingly drier, particularly after ca. 9150 cal. a BP, as the pond dried frequently, and coastal sage scrub covered the nearby hillslopes. By ca. 6900 cal. a BP grasslands recovered at both sites. Pollen of wetland plants became prominent at Soledad Pond after ca. 4500 cal. a BP, and at Abalone Rocks Marsh after ca. 3465 cal. a BP. Diatoms suggest freshening of the Abalone Rocks Marsh somewhat later, probably by additional runoff from the highlands. Introduction of non-native species by ranchers occurred subsequent to AD 1850. Charcoal influx is high early in the record, but declines during the early Holocene when minimal biomass suggests extended drought. A general increase occurs after ca. 7000 cal. a BP, and especially after ca. 4500 cal. a BP. The Holocene pattern closely resembles population levels constructed from the archaeological record, and suggests a potential influence by humans on the fire regime of the islands, particularly during the late Holocene.
|Title||Fire and vegetation history on Santa Rosa Island, Channel Islands, and long-term environmental change in southern California|
|Authors||Scott W. Starratt, N. Pinter, Robert S. Anderson, R.B. Jass|
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Series Title||Journal of Quaternary Science|
|Record Source||USGS Publications Warehouse|
|USGS Organization||Volcano Science Center|