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Environment and History

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Environment and History

Past Environments through Palynology: A Short Appraisal with Reference to the Western Ghats

V.M. Meher-Homji

Environment and History 2(1996): 249-52

The science of palynology has proved to be a good tool to reconstruct the past, to build up archaeological scenarios and to record climatic changes during the Holocene period. However, the terms employed to denote climate, like arid and humid, are often used without proper definitions, ignoring intricacies of climate. Sometimes the species whose pollen grains are used as markers of dryness or wetness are themselves not very faithful indicators. In yet other cases the vegetation change registered through pollen spectrum is solely attributed to climate without considering the anthropic interference or other factors of environment like shifts in courses of river or pests and diseases. Taking the Indian region as an example where the spatial and temporal variations of climate are pronounced, the deficiencies in expressing the climate in its multifaceted complex, and in deriving the climate change, are exposed by a critical analysis of two well acclaimed papers on palaeo-palynology.

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