Macquarie University
01whole.pdf (998.17 kB)

Biomarker-based Holocene wildfire history of eastern Kangaroo Island

Download (998.17 kB)
posted on 2022-11-20, 22:52 authored by Hannah Wilson


Since the Silurian, fire has played a pivotal role in the shaping of global landscapes. This is particularly evident for Australia’s environment with biological and biogeochemical processes reliant on a consistent bushfire regime. Throughout the late Holocene, there has been dramatic changes in both the anthropogenic and climatic influence on Australia’s bushfire regime, as a result of colonisation, loss of Indigenous landscape management and global warming. This project focused on reconstructing the wildfire history of eastern Kangaroo Island over the late Holocene, since ~6500 ka. Kangaroo Island was devastated by the 2019-20 summer bushfires, therefore the normality of wildfire events was called into question. By using a multi-proxy approach, coupling pyrogenic polyaromatic hydrocarbons, the anhydrosugar levoglucosan and traditional charcoal data, this allowed for a distinguishment to be made between low intensity bushfires and high intensity wildfire events. It was shown that since ~4000 cal yr there has been a gradual increase in the frequency of burn events, however in the last 1200 ka, the intensity of bushfires has surged. This project demonstrates that the uninhabitance of Kangaroo Island by Indigenous Australians, along with changes in the influence of ENSO may have contributed to the new fire regime we see today.


Table of Contents

1. Acknowledgements -- 2. Covid-19 Statement -- 3. Abstract -- 4. Introduction -- 5. Methods -- 6. Results -- 7. Discussion -- 8. Conclusion -- 9. References


A thesis submitted in partial fulfilment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Research

Awarding Institution

Macquarie University

Degree Type

Thesis MRes


Thesis (MRes), Macquarie University, Faculty of Science and Engineering, Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, 2022

Department, Centre or School

Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences

Year of Award


Principal Supervisor

Stefan Loehr

Additional Supervisor 1

Simon George


Copyright: The Author Copyright disclaimer:




South Australia Australia


31 pages

Usage metrics

    Macquarie University Theses