Early Holocene pollen record of vegetation and climate history in response to the monsoonal activity in East Garo Hills, Meghalaya, India


  • S.K. Basumatary Birbal Sahni Institute of Palaeosciences, 53 University Road, Lucknow 226 007, India
  • Swati Tripathi Birbal Sahni Institute of Palaeosciences, 53 University Road, Lucknow 226 007, India
  • S.K. Bera Birbal Sahni Institute of Palaeosciences, 53 University Road, Lucknow 226 007, India




Pollen data, Palaeovegetation, Palynoassemblage, Monsoonal activity, East Garo Hills, Meghalaya


This study presents a palynological analysis in 2.0 m deep sedimentary soil profile procured from Rongre Swamp of East Garo Hills to document changes in vegetation and climate in response to the monsoonal activity since 10,640 cal. BP. Four palaeovegetation and climate zones were recorded based on the frequencies of major pollen taxa in the region. The first phase was around 10,640–7,540 cal. BP broadly shows the existence of tropical forest in the region under the onset of warm and humid climatic condition. Subsequently, between 7,540–5,490 cal. BP, the forest got enriched with increased values of tropical mixed deciduous and evergreen elements. The vegetation scenario as marked by both deciduous and evergreen elements in increased values support the warm and humid climate in response to the relatively high monsoonal activity. Accordingly, in the third phase between 5,490–1,120 cal. BP, the values of major arboreal pollen taxa, Shorea, Mesua, Elaeocarpus and Duabanga have declined as compared to the preceding phase in relation to the relatively less warm and humid climate than the preceding phase in the region. In the last phase around 1,120 cal. BP to present, the forest got deteriorated as evidenced by the decreased values of arboreal pollen taxa. This phase clearly depicts the high anthropogenic activity as evidenced by the abundance of cultural pollen like cereal and Brassica.


Download data is not yet available.


Metrics Loading ...


Basumatary SK & Bera SK 2007. Modern pollen–spore assemblage from sediment of tropical moist deciduous forest, East Garo Hills, Meghalaya. Journal of Palynology 43: 111–118.

Basumatary SK & Bera SK 2010. Development of vegetation and climate change in West Garo Hills since late Holocene: pollen sequence and anthropogenic impact. Journal of Indian Botanical Society 89: 143–148.

Basumatary SK, Dixit Swati, Bera SK & Mehrotra RC 2013. Modern pollen assemblages of surface samples from Cherrapunjee and its adjoining areas, Meghalaya, northeast India. Quaternary International 298: 68–79.

Basumatary SK, Bera SK, Sangma SN & Marak G 2014. Modern pollen deposition in relation to vegetation and climate of Balpakram Valley, Meghalaya, northeast India: Implications for Indo–Burma palaeoecological contexts. Quaternary International 325: 30–40.

Basumatary SK, Gogoi B & Prasad Vandana 2017. Characteristic modern pollen assemblages in relation to vegetation types in the East Khasi Hills, northeast India. Palynology 41(2): 162–170.

Basumatary SK, Tripathi Swati, Thakur B, Jalil A & Rahman A 2018. Mid–Holocene vegetation and climatic changes in Southwestern Garo Hills, Meghalaya, northeast India based on pollen records. Geophytology 48(2): 103–112.

Bera SK, Basumatary SK, Agarwal A & Ahmed M 2006. Conversion of forestland in Garo Hills, Meghalaya for construction of roads: A threat to the environment and biodiversity. Current Science 91: 281–284.

Bera SK, Basumatary SK & Dixit S 2007. Studies on pollen morphology and phenological characteristics of some economically important arborescent taxa of tropical forest, lower Brahmaputra Valley, Assam, North East India. Journal of Palynology 43: 1–19.

Bronk Ramsey C 2008. Deposition models for chronological records. Quaternary Science Reviews 27: 42–60.

Dixit S & Bera SK 2013. Pollen–inferred vegetation vis–à–vis climate dynamics since Late Quaternary from western Assam, Northeast India: Signal of global climatic events. Quaternary International 286: 56–68.

Dutt S, Gupta AK, Cheng H, Clemens SC, Singh RK & Tewari VC 2020. Indian Summer Monsoon variability in northeastern India during the last two millennia. Quaternary International doi: https: //doi.org/10.1016/j.quaint.2020.10.021.

Erdtman G 1952. Pollen Morphology and Plant Taxonomy, Waltham, Mass; USA.

Erdtman G 1953. An Introduction to Pollen Analysis, Waltham, Mass; USA.

Faegri K & Iversen J 1989. Textbook of pollen analysis, 4th Edition,Wiley, Chichester.

Gupta HP & Sharma C 1985. Pollen analysis of modern sediments from Khasi and Jaintia Hills, Meghalaya, India. Journal of Palynology 21: 167–173.

Harris DR 1972. The origin of agriculture in the tropics. American scientist 60: 180–193.

Hooker JD 1905. Himalayan Journals, London.

Innes J, Blackford J & Simmons I 2010. Woodland disturbance and possible land–use regimes during the Mesolithic in the English uplands: pollen, charcoal and non–pollen palynomorph evidence from Bluewath beck, North York Moors, UK. Vegetation History and Archaeobotany 19: 439–452.

Kumar A, Gupta AK, Marcot BG, Saxena AM, Singh SP & Marak TTC 2002. Management of forests in India for biological diversity and forest productivity, a new perspective. Volume IV: Garo Hills Conservation Area (GCA). Wildlife institute of India–USDC Forest service collaborative project report, Wildlife Institute of India, Dehra Dun: 206.

Limaye RB, Kumaran KPN, Nair KM & Padmalal D 2007. Non–pollen palynomorphs as potential palaeoenvironmental indicators in the late Quaternary sediments of the West Coast of India. Current Science 92(10): 1370–1382.

Ma Y, Zhang H, Pachur HJ, Wu¨nnemann B, Li J & Feng Z 2004. Modern pollen–based interpretations of mid–Holocene palaeoclimate (8500 to 3000 cal. BP) at the southern margin of the Tengger Desert, northwestern China. The Holocene 14(6): 841–850.

Mehrotra RC, Liu XQ, Li CS, Wang YF & Chauhan MS 2005. Comparison of the Tertiary flora of southwest China and northeast India and its significance in the antiquity of the modern Himalayan flora. Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology 135: 145–163.

Moore PD, Webb JA & Collinson ME 1991.Pollen Analysis, Blackwell, Oxford.

Nair KM, Padmalal D, Kumaran KPN, Sreeja R, Limaye RB & Srinivas R 2010. Late quaternary evolution of Ashtamudi–Sasthamkotta lake systems of Kerela, south west India. Journal of Asian Earth Science 37(4): 361–372.

Sauer CO 1952. Agricultural origin and dispersal, Cambridge, M. I. T., press.

Tripathi S, Singh YR, Nautiyal CM & Thakur B 2018. Vegetation history, monsoonal fluctuations and anthropogenic impact during the last 2,330 years from Loktak Lake (Ramsar site), Manipur, northeast India: a pollen based study. Palynology (Taylor & Francis) 42(2): 406–419.

Tripathi S, Thakur B, Nautiyal CM & Bera SK 2020. Floristic and Climatic reconstruction in Indo–Burma region for the last 13000 cal. yr: A palynological interpretation from endangered wetlands of Assam, northeast India. The Holocene 30(2): 315–331.

Van Campo E, Cour P & Sixuan H 1996. Holocene environmental changes in Bangong Co Basin (Western Tibet) Part 2, The pollen record. Palaeogeography Palaeoclimatalogy Palaeoecology (120): 49–63.

Vivilov NI 1949. The origin, variation, immunity and breeding of cultivated plants, Chronica Botanica 3.




How to Cite

Basumatary, S., Tripathi, S., & Bera, S. (2021). Early Holocene pollen record of vegetation and climate history in response to the monsoonal activity in East Garo Hills, Meghalaya, India. Journal of Palaeosciences, 69, 51–61. https://doi.org/10.54991/jop.2020.30



Research Articles

Most read articles by the same author(s)

1 2 > >>