Can I get some help with the last remaining Timelines to be added to the new WHS? As always the natural sites are giving me trouble.
As an aside I went to look at how we had assigned a timeline to the other 2 Natural forest sites from Thailand - Thungyai-Huai Kha Khaeng and Dong Phayayen-Khao Yai ..........and, as far as I can see, we haven't!! I did a few other checks and I think that there are more WHS (probably all of which are Natural sites) without an assigned Timeline. Could you produce a list?
To the problem at hand. Unfortunately we never seem to have attracted a Geologist or similar to our Community and have therefore had to rely on our own somewhat less than significant "knowledge" of the subject area! We did our best to develop criteria and guidelines for assigning Timeline periods but I suspect that the assignments we made wouldn't always stand up to critical evaluation. Natural sites created their own particular problems. As I remember it we tried to assign on the basis of when the claimed OUV arose rather than on when the entire site as currently existing. (Let alone its earliest aspect) was formed. So - a geological site got assigned to the relevant geological period which created its main OUV rather than to the period of its current flora and fauna. A site whose OUV is based on a particular species was assigned to the period of evolution of the species in that area or its arrival there. Many "flora and fauna" sites are of course inscribed on a "package" of aspects which make up their current OUV - geology, endemism, current ecology etc etc. The norm will be that such sites will get assigned to the Holocene period unless there is a good reason to choose an earlier one (e.g because of "Relict" ecosytems , "Island endemism)" or similar). The ecology of most places on earth has undergone significant change even across the Holocene's c11700 ybp since the Pleistocene's 2,580,000 to 11,700 ybp. A natural site inscribed for "what it is today" was most likely "created"/emerged within the Holocene period - and might well have undergone significant changes even across that relatively short (in Geological terms) timescale!
Where we felt that the OUV predated the Holocene we have tried to divide the Pleistocene "Glacial period" into the Early (2.58m- 770,000ybp), Middle (770,000-126,000ybp) and Late/Upper (126,000 -11,700ybp). Scanning through them we have done so largely in the case of Hominid, and Volcanic sites together with some relating to faunal "migrations" and "dateable" erosional/minor tectonic changes to landforms.
So to the 2 WHS in question based on the above guidleinesKKFC.
See this paper
on the effects of Glaciation on the Malay peninsula and forestation. It generally concludes that during this period the lower sea levels and emergence of "Sundaland" meant the land was far more "savannah like" than today.
There is also this, unfortunately difficult to read, presentation
on the emergence of the Khao yai geology and landscape which identifies almost the entire geological history of the World as having contributed (!) but really shows that the Holocene climate has created both thr flora/fauna mix and the landscape.
From these. and our "guidelines" as above, I would judge that all 3 Thai Natural WHS are "Holocene" in the sense that they required the post glacial climatic changes to create the "rain forest" and the erosion etc which characterises the landscape.Ivindo
Ivindo is situated around 200kms east of Lopé-Okanda WHS within the same Ogooue River basin. We should at least take into account our timeline assessment of one to inform the other! Lopé-Okanda however is a Mixed WHS and has been assigned to Middle Pleistoicene on the basis of its "400,000 years of almost continuous history". We have normally identified both a natural and a cultural timeline period for mixed sites. The Ivindo nomination file goes to some lengths to try to differentiate it from Lopé-Okanda - but the main difference seems to be that Ivando is "all forest" whilst Lope is mixed Savannah and Forest. In fact the ICOMOS evaluation shows that the majority of the Cultural aspects are Neolithic and Iron Age - the Middle Stone age isn't represented and even the Early Stone Age is only "thinly" referred to . There is however a significant relationship to the "Middle Holocene Bantu Migrations" (3,500-2,000 BP) which were eased by following the Savannahs rather than the forests.
I found this article
re the emergence of the Congo Forests
"There is strong evidence that forest cover was reduced during the last Ice Age, lasting from 1.6 million to 10,000 years ago. While forested areas in the Congo River Basin are known to have persisted in some areas called refugia..........About 10,000 years ago, as the last Ice Age ended, glaciers receded and rainfall increased. The changing climate allowed savannas to be reclaimed by trees, and the forest grew to reach its current size."
The article also refers to the complexities of the climate changes during the Holocene which resulted in an ebb and flow of the "Savannah/Forest mosaic".
Those changes to the Congo forests during the Holocene are also referred to in this
In summary I would judge that both Ivindo AND Lope should be assigned to the Holocene Time periods. In the case of the latter the Cultural Time period should be Neolithic - 4th Millenium BC as being the majority "cultural" aspect.
Of course there were forests in the wider Congo basin pre Pleistocene... the Congo Forest article mentions Late Miocene (11.63 - 5.333 Mybp). These were no doubt "important" within a lengthy evolutionary timescale.....but they underwent many many changes even if much of the flora and fauna surived somewhere - to extend and bounce back later. Re Ivindo, bear in mind also that a major feature of it is the Langoué Baï
("one of the 5 most important forest clearings in Central Africa" Wiki) - which must be relatively "recent" in geological terms