Grantee Research Project Results
Late Holocene Forest History in the Coto Brus Region of Costa RicaEPA Grant Number: U915633
Title: Late Holocene Forest History in the Coto Brus Region of Costa Rica
Investigators: Anchukaitis, Kevin J.
Institution: University of Tennessee - Knoxville
EPA Project Officer: Boddie, Georgette
Project Period: September 1, 1999 through August 1, 2001
Project Amount: $68,000
RFA: STAR Graduate Fellowships (1999)
Research Category: Academic Fellowships , Economics and Decision Sciences , Fellowship - Environmental Decision Making
The objective of this research project is to reconstruct forest composition and vegetation patterns for the late Holocene in the Coto Brus region of southwestern Costa Rica, identifying periods of change and stability that are influenced by environmental and anthropogenic factors.Approach:
Paleoecological methods are used to reconstruct past landscapes. Specifically, identification and tabulation of pollen assemblages preserved in lake sediments allows the creation of a chronological sequence of changing forest composition. Pollen assemblages are interpreted based on known relationships between modern vegetation, pollen distributions, and environmental factors. Past vegetation patterns will be reconstructed and correlated with specific environmental and/or human factors. Frequency and distribution of charcoal in the sediment record will be analyzed to understand fire history and changes in fire regimes. Chemical composition and deposition rates of lake sediments are determined to examine watershed erosion, which is potentially tied to human land-use practices.Supplemental Keywords:
fellowship, paleoecology, forest history, Costa Rica, Holocene, prehistoric agriculture.