Pollen records from a 1.8-m deep sediment profile from Lakadandh Swamp, Baikunthpur Forest Range of Koriya District, Chhattisgarh (C'garh, central India), show the late Quaternary vegetation and climate history. Lakadandh Swamp occurs in the core monsoon zone of India. The study revealed that between ∼12,785 and ∼9035 cal. yrs BP, tree savannah vegetation, — composed of Poaceae, Amaranthaceae, Tubuliflorae along with the tree taxa Holoptelea sp. and Sapotaceae; sparsely distributed Acacia sp., Emblica officinalis, Lagerstroemia sp., Madhuca indica and Syzygium sp., thickets of Ricinus and Zizyphus sp. — occurred in the region under a cool and dry climate probably indicative of reduced monsoon precipitation. The early part of this phase is comparable with the Younger Dryas (YD) cold event which occurred between ∼12,800 and ∼11,500 yrs BP. Between ∼9035 and ∼4535 cal. yrs BP, the expansion of existing taxa Holoptelea sp., Sapotaceae, Madhuca indica, Ailanthus excelsa and Lagerstroemia sp. as well as the appearance of Acacia, and Shorea robusta, Acanthaceae, Rungia sp., and Ricinus sp., shows the tree savannah vegetation was replaced by open mixed tropical deciduous forest under a regime of warm and moderately humid climate with increased monsoon precipitation. Since ∼4535 cal. yrs BP to Present, owing to the improvement of most of the forest constituents, particularly Madhuca indica, Holoptelea sp., Sapotaceae and Lannea coromandelica, and also with immigration of Terminalia sp., Diospyros sp., Butea sp. and Maytenus sp., mixed tropical deciduous forest has taken over the space covered by open mixed tropical deciduous forest under a warm and relatively more humid climate, with further increase in monsoon precipitation. The existing cereal-based agricultural practice increased during the latter two phases, which could be attributed to increased monsoon precipitation.
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Vol. 41 • No. 1–2