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Climate of the Past An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Volume 14, issue 3 | Copyright

Special issue: “Global Challenges for our Common Future: a paleoscience...

Clim. Past, 14, 351-367, 2018
https://doi.org/10.5194/cp-14-351-2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 13 Mar 2018

Research article | 13 Mar 2018

Vegetation history and paleoclimate at Lake Dojran (FYROM/Greece) during the Late Glacial and Holocene

Alessia Masi1, Alexander Francke2,3, Caterina Pepe1, Matthias Thienemann2, Bernd Wagner2, and Laura Sadori1 Alessia Masi et al.
  • 1Department of Environmental Biology, Sapienza University, Rome, Italy
  • 2Institute of Geology and Mineralogy, University of Cologne, Cologne, Germany
  • 3Wollongong Isotope Geochronology Laboratory, School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, Australia

Abstract. A new high-resolution pollen and NPP (non-pollen palynomorph) analysis has been performed on the sediments of Lake Dojran, a transboundary lake located at the border between Greece and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM). The sequence covers the last 12500 years and provides information on the vegetational dynamics of the Late Glacial and Holocene for the southern Balkans. Robust age model, sedimentological diatom, and biomarker analyses published previously have been the base for a multi-perspective interpretation of the new palynological data. Pollen analysis revealed that the Late Glacial is characterized by steppic taxa with prevailing Amaranthaceae, Artemisia and Poaceae. The arboreal vegetation starts to rise after 11500yrBP, taking a couple of millennia to be definitively attested. Holocene vegetation is characterized by the dominance of mesophilous plants. The Quercus robur type and Pinus are the most abundant taxa, followed by the Quercus cerris type, the Quercus ilex type and Ostrya–Carpinus orientalis. The first attestation of human presence can be presumed at 5000yrBP from the contemporary presence of cereals, Juglans and Rumex. A drop in both pollen concentration and influx together with a δ18Ocarb shift indicates increasing aridity and precedes clear and continuous human signs since 4000yrBP. Also, a correlation between Pediastrum boryanum and fecal stanol suggests that the increase in nutrients in the water is related to human presence and pasture. An undoubted expansion of human-related plants occurs since 2600yrBP when cereals, arboreal cultivated and other synanthropic non-cultivated taxa are found. A strong reduction in arboreal vegetation occurred at 2000yrBP, when the Roman Empire impacted a landscape undergoing climate dryness in the whole Mediterranean area. In recent centuries the human impact still remains high but spots of natural vegetation are preserved. The Lake Dojran multi-proxy analysis including pollen data provides clear evidence of the importance of this approach in paleoenvironmental reconstruction. Cross-interpretation of several proxies allows us to comprehend past vegetation dynamics and human impact in the southern Balkans.

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The first high-resolution Lake Dojran pollen record for the last 12 500 years is presented. The ecological succession shows Late Glacial steppe vegetation gradually replaced, since 11 500 yr BP, by Holocene mesophilous forests. The first human traces are recorded around 5000 yr BP and increased considerably since the Bronze Age. Pollen data and sedimentological, biomarker and diatom data available from the same core contribute to an understanding of the environmental history of the Balkans.
The first high-resolution Lake Dojran pollen record for the last 12 500 years is presented. The...
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