Glacial forest refugium in Howard Valley, South Island, New Zealand
Marra, M.J. & Thackray, G.D. (2009). Glacial forest refugium in Howard Valley, South Island, New Zealand. Journal of Quaternary Science, 25(3), 209-319.
Permanent Research Commons link: https://hdl.handle.net/10289/4013
Fossils of forest habitat beetles and leaves of Nothofagus menziesii provide evidence of a forest refugium at times between ca. 34 000 and ca. 18 500 cal. a BP at an upland site in Howard Valley, located adjacent to glaciated valleys in South Island, New Zealand. The stratigraphy of the glacial-aged terrace sequence of organic-rich silts and fluvial sand/gravels indicates that soil development occurred episodically for around 15 000 a. Fifty-four beetle taxa represent seven habitat types: forest, forest or scrub, riparian and aquatic, litter, grass/tussock, marshland and moss habitats. Leaf and beetle fossils indicate that forest dominated by N. menziesii persisted at the site for most of the time period represented, and tree line taxa such as Taenarthrus sp. 1 (Carabidae) and Podocarpus sp. (Podocarpaceae) indicate that the site may represent the upper tree limit for full-glacial time. The finding of forest at this elevated site adds to the growing fossil evidence for multiple forest refugia in New Zealand during the last glaciation and is consistent with the pollen records, which have consistently indicated the presence of forest species during the last glaciations.
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