Stability of rainforest margins in space and time: Holocene rainforest, climate, fire, human impact and land use dynamics in Sulawesi, Indonesia


For understanding the stability of rainforest margins and for future sustainable land use management an integrated study which comprises changes in past vegetation, biodiversity, climate, fire, human impact and land use dynamics is needed. In the framework of STORMA we will analyse the Holocene vegetation and biodiversity, the history of fire and the climate variability in Central Sulawesi during the Holocene. The investigation will focus on the stability of rainforests and dynamics of plant diversity in the past. In this context the diversity of palm trees (Calamoidae in particular) is of special concern.
Attention will be given to the frequency and intensity of ENSO droughts which cause fires with strong effects on nature and society in Indonesia. In addition the duration of intervals between the recurrent El Niño events during the Holocene will be observed. If we can detect traces of similar devastations as occurred during the 1997/98 ENSO event in earlier times, these will provide data about the history of climate and vegetation in an overall perspective.
Methodically, our approach is linked to innovative temporal high resolution pollen, spores, charcoal, stratigraphical and geochemical analysis on sediment cores primarily collected from three different lake and peat deposits. The cores will be radiocarbon dated and studied with XRF-scanners on a high resolution scale (mm) or if necessary a super high resolution scale (μm). Especially the combination of different environmental proxies (pollen, spores, charcoal and sediments) will allow us to identify and to reconstruct past environmental changes in detail. This multiproxy analysis will serve as a powerful tool to interpret past environmental changes so as to understand modern and predict future environmental changes in rainforest margins. The results will contribute to conservative action in the perspective of sustainability.

Project management:
Prof. Dr. H. Behling

Dr. Ellyn Cook

Dr. I. Iskandar (Bogor Agricultural University, IPB Bogor, Java)
Dr. J. P. Mogea (Herbarium Bogoriense, Bogor, Java)
H. Rustiami (Bogor)
Dr. A. Malik (Tadulako University Palu - UNTAD, Palu, Sulawesi)

Klimageschichte, Vegetationsgeschichte, Indonesien, El Niño, South Pacific Oscillation, Rattan, tropischer Regenwald, Asien, Palynologie

Project duration: