PhD project > 2011

Studies on vegetation, fire and climate dynamic during the late Quaternary as contribution for conservation and management of the biodiversity center “Mata Atlantica” in southern Brazil

Several radiocarbon dated environmental sediment archives of Serra do Tabuleiro and Serra Geral, both situated in southern Brazil in the “Mata Atlantica” region, which is a hot spot of biodiversity, will be studied by pollen, spore, charcoal, sediment and multivariate data analysis. These studies provide a basis to understand the development, stability and dynamic of modern ecosystems, including its biodiversity. This background information will be an important contribution for a sustainable conservation and management of the species rich vegetation in southern Brazil. For the Serra do Tabuleiro it will be clarified if the present grasslands are natural or of anthropogenic origin and if the existence of isolated Araucaria forests originate from a refugia of the last glacial period in this coastal mountain range. The similar research will be carried out for the Serra Geral. In addition, the origin and dynamic of marked border between forest and grassland will be studied in detail. The significance of fire and climate changes and their influences on the vegetation will be treated for both regions. This palaeoenvironmental research project is integrated with two other international research projects.

Project management:
Prof. Dr. Hermann Behling

Scientific co-worker:
Vivian Jeske-Pieruschka (PhD student)

Southern Brazil , Mata Atlantica, vegetation history, climate dynamic, fire history, pollen analysis



  • Jeske-Pieruschka, V., Fidelis, A., Bergamin, R.S., Vélez, E., Behling, H. 2010. Araucaria forest dynamics in relation to fire frequency in southern Brazil based on fossil and modern pollen data. Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology, 160, 53–65. DOI: 10.1016/j.revpalbo.2010.01.005

  • Jeske-Pieruschka, V.; Behling, H. (2012): Palaeoenvironmental history of the Sao Francisco de Paula region in southern Brazil during the late Quaternary inferred from the Rincao das Cabritas core. The Holocene 22 (11), pp. 1251–1262. DOI: 10.1177/0959683611414930

  • Jeske-Pieruschka, V.; Pillar, V. D.; Oliveira, M. A. de; Behling, H. (2013): New insights into vegetation, climate and fire history of southern Brazil revealed by a 40,000 year environmental record from the State Park Serra do Tabuleiro. Veget Hist Archaebot 22 (4), pp. 299–314. DOI: 10.1007/s00334-012-0382-y