Brazilian montane rainforest expansion induced by Heinrich Stadial 1 event
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Pinaya, J. L., Cruz, F. W., Ceccantini, G. C., Corrêa, P. L., Pitman, N., Vemado, F., ... & Stríkis, N. M. (2019). Brazilian montane rainforest expansion induced by Heinrich Stadial 1 event. Scientific Reports, 9(1), 1-14.
SponsorshipThis work was funded by FAPESP research grant 2015/50683-2 to P.E. De Oliveira, VULPES Project, Belmount Forum.
The origin of modern disjunct plant distributions in the Brazilian Highlands with strong floristic affinities to distant montane rainforests of isolated mountaintops in the northeast and northern Amazonia and the Guyana Shield remains unknown. We tested the hypothesis that these unexplained biogeographical patterns reflect former ecosystem rearrangements sustained by widespread plant migrations possibly due to climatic patterns that are very dissimilar from present-day conditions. To address this issue, we mapped the presence of the montane arboreal taxa Araucaria, Podocarpus, Drimys, Hedyosmum, Ilex, Myrsine, Symplocos, and Weinmannia, and cool-adapted plants in the families Myrtaceae, Ericaceae, and Arecaceae (palms) in 29 palynological records during Heinrich Stadial 1 Event, encompassing a latitudinal range of 30°S to 0°S. In addition, Principal Component Analysis and Species Distribution Modelling were used to represent past and modern habitat suitability for Podocarpus and Araucaria. The data reveals two long-distance patterns of plant migration connecting south/southeast to northeastern Brazil and Amazonia with a third short route extending from one of them. Their paleofloristic compositions suggest a climatic scenario of abundant rainfall and relative lower continental surface temperatures, possibly intensified by the effects of polar air incursions forming cold fronts into the Brazilian Highlands. Although these taxa are sensitive to changes in temperature, the combined pollen and speleothems proxy data indicate that this montane rainforest expansion during Heinrich Stadial 1 Event was triggered mainly by a less seasonal rainfall regime from the subtropics to the equatorial region.