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Identification of ancient charcoal fragments in Central Africa: meeting the challenge of species diversity

Wannes Hubau UGent, Jan Van den Bulcke UGent, Joris Van Acker UGent and Hans Beeckman (2012) IUFRO All Division 5 Conference, Abstracts.
abstract
Fossil pollen and charcoal fragments are preserved in lake sediments, in forest soils and in ancient human settlements. As such, vegetation history is remarkably well archived. However, Central African vegetation history has been poorly documented. Central African palaeovegetation reconstructions are based mainly on pollen analysis, while the charcoal archive remains hardly explored. Nevertheless, ancient charcoal analysis has proven worthwhile in temperate regions. One of the main challenges for charcoal identification in tropical regions is species diversity. Therefore we developed and present a transparent charcoal identification protocol within an umbrella database of species names and metadata, compiled from the on-line database of wood-anatomical descriptions (InsideWood), the database of the world’s largest reference collection of Central African wood specimens (RMCA, Tervuren, Belgium) and inventory and indicator species lists. This database covers more than 2900 Central African woody species, which is a large fraction of the total woody species richness of Central Africa. The protocol starts with an anatomical query within this database, focussing on genus rather than species level and proceeds with automatic extension and reduction phases taking into account metadata on (1) availability of thin sections within the reference collection, (2) species distribution and (3) synonymy. The protocol ends with a comparative microscopic study of wood reference thin sections and charcoal anatomy. The protocol has been optimised for the Mayumbe region (DRCongo). We present first identification results from several radiocarbon dated charcoal collections (8000 - 200 cal yr BP), sampled in systematically excavated profiles in the Mayumbe forest. Identification results are mutually consistent. Also, these identification results are consistent with vegetation history based on palynological research within and around the research area. As such, anthracology complements palynology and a combination of both can lead to stronger palaeobotanical reconstructions.
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
year
type
conference
publication status
published
subject
in
IUFRO All Division 5 Conference, Abstracts
publisher
IUFRO Division 5 (Forest Products)
conference name
2012 IUFRO All Division 5 Conference
conference location
Lisbon, Portugal
conference start
2012-07-08
conference end
2012-07-13
language
English
UGent publication?
yes
classification
C3
id
2963325
handle
http://hdl.handle.net/1854/LU-2963325
date created
2012-07-17 11:55:01
date last changed
2012-08-03 16:03:50
@inproceedings{2963325,
  abstract     = {Fossil pollen and charcoal fragments are preserved in lake sediments, in forest soils and in ancient human settlements. As such, vegetation history is remarkably well archived. However, Central African vegetation history has been poorly documented. Central African palaeovegetation reconstructions are based mainly on pollen analysis, while the charcoal archive remains hardly explored. Nevertheless, ancient charcoal analysis has proven worthwhile in temperate regions. One of the main challenges for charcoal identification in tropical regions is species diversity. 
Therefore we developed and present a transparent charcoal identification protocol within an umbrella database of species names and metadata, compiled from the on-line database of wood-anatomical descriptions (InsideWood), the database of the world{\textquoteright}s largest reference collection of Central African wood specimens (RMCA, Tervuren, Belgium) and inventory and indicator species lists. This database covers more than 2900 Central African woody species, which is a large fraction of the total woody species richness of Central Africa. The protocol starts with an anatomical query within this database, focussing on genus rather than species level and proceeds with automatic extension and reduction phases taking into account metadata on (1) availability of thin sections within the reference collection, (2) species distribution and (3) synonymy. The protocol ends with a comparative microscopic study of wood reference thin sections and charcoal anatomy.
The protocol has been optimised for the Mayumbe region (DRCongo). We present first identification results from several radiocarbon dated charcoal collections (8000 - 200 cal yr BP), sampled in systematically excavated profiles in the Mayumbe forest. Identification results are mutually consistent. Also, these identification results are consistent with vegetation history based on palynological research within and around the research area. As such, anthracology complements palynology and a combination of both can lead to stronger palaeobotanical reconstructions.},
  author       = {Hubau, Wannes and Van den Bulcke, Jan and Van Acker, Joris and Beeckman, Hans},
  booktitle    = {IUFRO All Division 5 Conference, Abstracts},
  language     = {eng},
  location     = {Lisbon, Portugal},
  publisher    = {IUFRO Division 5 (Forest Products)},
  title        = {Identification of ancient charcoal fragments in Central Africa: meeting the challenge of species diversity},
  year         = {2012},
}

Chicago
Hubau, Wannes, Jan Van den Bulcke, Joris Van Acker, and Hans Beeckman. 2012. “Identification of Ancient Charcoal Fragments in Central Africa: Meeting the Challenge of Species Diversity.” In IUFRO All Division 5 Conference, Abstracts. IUFRO Division 5 (Forest Products).
APA
Hubau, W., Van den Bulcke, J., Van Acker, J., & Beeckman, H. (2012). Identification of ancient charcoal fragments in Central Africa: meeting the challenge of species diversity. IUFRO All Division 5 Conference, Abstracts. Presented at the 2012 IUFRO All Division 5 Conference, IUFRO Division 5 (Forest Products).
Vancouver
1.
Hubau W, Van den Bulcke J, Van Acker J, Beeckman H. Identification of ancient charcoal fragments in Central Africa: meeting the challenge of species diversity. IUFRO All Division 5 Conference, Abstracts. IUFRO Division 5 (Forest Products); 2012.
MLA
Hubau, Wannes, Jan Van den Bulcke, Joris Van Acker, et al. “Identification of Ancient Charcoal Fragments in Central Africa: Meeting the Challenge of Species Diversity.” IUFRO All Division 5 Conference, Abstracts. IUFRO Division 5 (Forest Products), 2012. Print.