Publication details

Interpretation of the last-glacial vegetation of eastern-central Europe using modern analogues from southern Siberia



Year of publication 2008
Type Article in Periodical
Magazine / Source Journal of Biogeography
MU Faculty or unit

Faculty of Science

Field Botany
Keywords Central Europe; forest; fossil pollen spectra; full glacial; late glacial; steppe; surface pollen; tundra; Weichselian
Description Interpretation of fossil pollen assemblages may benefit greatly from comparisons with modern palynological and vegetation analogues. To interpret the full- and late-glacial vegetation in eastern-central Europe we compared fossil pollen assemblages from this region with modern pollen assemblages from various vegetation types in southern Siberia, which presumably include the closest modern analogues of the last-glacial vegetation of central Europe. Eighty-eight modern pollen spectra were sampled in 14 vegetation types of Siberian forest, tundra and steppe, and compared with the last-glacial pollen spectra from seven central European localities using principal components analysis. Both full- and late-glacial pollen spectra from the valleys of the Western Carpathians (altitudes 350-610 m) are similar to modern pollen spectra from southern Siberian taiga, hemiboreal forest and dwarf-birch tundra. The fullglacial and early late-glacial pollen spectra from lowland river valleys in the Bohemian Massif (altitudes 185-190 m) also indicate the presence of patches of hemiboreal forest or taiga. Other late-glacial pollen spectra from the Bohemian Massif suggest an open landscape with steppe or tundra or a mosaic of both, possibly with small patches of hemiboreal forest. Our results are consistent with the hypothesis that during the full glacial and late glacial, the mountain valleys of the north-western Carpathians supported taiga or hemiboreal forest dominated by Larix, Pinus cembra, Pinus sylvestris and Picea, along with some steppic or tundra formations. Forests tended to be increasingly open or patchy towards the west (Moravian lowlands), gradually passing into the generally treeless landscape of Bohemia, with possible woodland patches in locally favourable sites.
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