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Late Quaternary palaeocological and paleoclimatological reconstruction in the Gutaiului Mountains, NW Romania
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology (INK).
2004 (English)In: Journal of Quaternary Science, ISSN 0267-8179, E-ISSN 1099-1417, Vol. 19, no 8, 809-827 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Macrofossil, pollen, lithostratigraphy, mineral magnetic measurements (SIRM and magnetic susceptibility), loss-on-ignition, and AMS radiocarbon dating on sediments from two former crater lakes, situated at moderate altitudes in the Gutaiului Mountains of northwest Romania, allow reconstruction of Late Quaternary climate and environment. Shrubs and herbs with steppe and montane affinities along with stands of Betula and Pinus, colonised the surroundings of the sites prior to 14 700 cal. yr BP and the inferred climatic conditions were cold and dry. The gradual transition to open Pinus-Betula forests, slightly higher lake water temperatures, and higher lake productivity, indicate more stable environmental conditions between 14 700 and 14 100 cal. yr BP. This development was interrupted by cooler and drier climatic conditions between 14 100 and 13 800 cal. yr BP, as inferred from a reduction of open forests to patches, or stands, of Pinus, Betula, Larix, Salix and Populus. The expansion of a denser boreal forest, dominated by Picea, but including Pinus, Larix, Betula, Salix, and Ulmus started at 13 800 cal. yr BP, although the forest density seems to have been reduced between 13 400 and 13 200 cal. yr BP. Air temperature and moisture availability gradually increased, but a change towards drier conditions is seen at 13 400 cal. yr BP. A distinct decrease in temperature and humidity between 12 900 and 11 500 cal. yr BP led to a return of open vegetation, with patches of Betula, Larix, Salix, Pinus and Alnus and individuals of Picea. Macrofossils and pollen of aquatic plants indicate rising lake water temperatures and increased aquatic productivity already by ca. 11 800 cal. yr BP, 300 years earlier than documented by the terrestrial plant communities. At the onset of the Holocene, 11 500 cal. yr BP, forests dominated by Betula, Pinus and Larix expanded and were followed by dense Ulmus forests with Picea, Betula and Pinus at 11 250 cal. yr BP. Larix pollen was not found, but macrofossil evidence indicates that Larix was an important forest constituent at the onset of the Holocene. Moister conditions were followed by a dry period starting about 10 600 cal. yr BP, which was more pronounced between 8600 and 8200 cal. yr BP, as inferred from aquatic macrofossils. The maximum expansion of Tilia, Quercus, Fraxinus and Acer between 10 700 and 8600 cal. yr BP may reflect a more continental climate. A drier and/or cooler climate could have been responsible for the late expansion (10 300 cal. yr BP) and late maximum (9300 cal. yr BP) of Corylus. Increased water stress, and possibly cooler conditions around 8600 cal. yr BP, may have caused a reduction of Ulmus, Tilia, Quercus and Fraxinus. After 8200 cal. yr BP moisture increased and the forests included Picea, Tilia, Quercus and Fraxinus.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2004. Vol. 19, no 8, 809-827 p.
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-22758DOI: 10.1002/jqs.872OAI: diva2:189380
Part of urn:nbn:se:su:diva-108Available from: 2004-04-15 Created: 2004-04-15 Last updated: 2010-08-02Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Palaeoenvironment in North-Western Romania during the last 15 000 years
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Palaeoenvironment in North-Western Romania during the last 15 000 years
2004 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The objectives of this thesis are to establish a chronological framework for environmental changes during the last 15,000 years in northwest Romania, to reconstruct the vegetation development, and to evaluate the underlying processes for forest dynamics. Furthermore, an overview of earlier and ongoing pollenstratigraphic work in Romania is provided.

Sediments from two former crater lakes, Preluca Tiganului and Steregoiu, situated in the Gutaiului Mountains, on the western extremity of the Eastern Carpathians at 730 m and 790 m a.s.l., respectively were obtained and analysed for high-resolution pollen, macrofossils, charcoal, mineral magnetic parameters and organic matter. The chronostratigraphic framework was provided by dense AMS 14C measurements.

Cold and dry climatic conditions are indicated by the occurrence of open vegetation with shrubs and herbs, and cold lake water prior to 14,700 cal. yr BP. The climatic improvement at the beginning of the Lateglacial interstadial (around 14,700 cal. yr BP) is seen by the development of open forests. These were dominated by Pinus and Betula, but contained also new arriving tree taxa, such as Populus, Alnus and Prunus. The gradual establishment of forests may have led to a stabilization of the soils in the catchment. Between ca. 14,100 and 13,800 cal. yr BP the forest density became reduced to stands of Pinus, Betula, Alnus, Larix and Populus trees and grassland expanded, suggesting colder climatic conditions. Picea arrived as a new taxon at around 13,800 cal. yr BP, and between 13,800 and 12,900 cal. yr BP, the surroundings of the sites were predominantly covered by Picea forest. This forest included Betula, Pinus, Alnus, Larix and Populus and, from 13,200 cal. yr BP onwards also Ulmus. At ca. 12,900 cal. yr BP, the forest became significantly reduced and at 12,600 cal. yr BP, a recurrence of open vegetation with stands of Larix, Pinus, Betula, Salix and Alnus is documented, lasting until 11,500 cal. yr BP. This distinct change in vegetation may by taken as a strong decline in temperature and moisture availability.

At the transition to the Holocene, at ca. 11,500 cal. yr BP, Pinus, Betula and Larix quickly expanded (from small local stands) and formed open forests, probably as a response to warmer and more humid climatic conditions. At 11,250 cal. yr BP Ulmus and Picea expanded and the landscape became completely forested. The rapid increase of Ulmus and Picea after 11,500 cal. yr BP may suggest the existence of small residual populations close to the study sites during the preceding cold interval. Ulmus was the first and most prominent deciduous taxa in the early Holocene in the Gutaiului Mountains. From ca. 10,750 cal. yr BP onwards Quercus, Tilia, Fraxinus and Acer expanded and Corylus arrived. A highly diverse, predominantly deciduous forest with Ulmus, Quercus, Tilia, Fraxinus, Acer, Corylus and Picea developed between 10,700 and 8200 cal. yr BP, which possibly signifies more continental climatic conditions. The development of a Picea-Corylus dominated forest between 8200 and 5700 cal. yr BP is likely connected to a more humid and cooler climate. The establishment of Carpinus and Fagus was dated to 5750 cal. yr BP and 5200 cal. yr BP, respectively. The dominance of Fagus during the late Holocene, from 4000 cal. yr BP onwards, may have been related to cooler and more humid climatic conditions. First signs of human activities are recorded around 2300 cal. yr BP, but only during the last 300 years did local human impact become significant.

The vegetation development recorded in the Gutaiului Mountains during the Lateglacial is very similar to reconstructions based on lowland sites, whereas higher elevation sites seem not to have always experienced visible vegetation changes. The time of tree arrival and expansion during the past 11,500 cal. yr BP seems to have occurred almost synchronously across Romania. The composition of the forests during the Holocene in the Gutaiului Mountains is consistent with that reconstructed at mid-elevation sites, but differs from the forest composition at higher elevations. Important differences between the Gutaiului Mountains and other studied sites in Romania are a low representation of Carpinus and a late and weak human impact.

The available data sets for Romania give evidence for the presence of coniferous and cold-tolerant deciduous trees before 14,700 cal. yr BP. Glacial refugia for Ulmus may have occurred in different parts of Romania, whereas the existence of Quercus, Tilia, Corylus and Fraxinus has not been corroborated.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Institutionen för naturgeografi och kvartärgeologi, 2004. 47 p.
Avhandling i kvartärgeologi, ISSN 1651-3940 ; 3
Northwest Romania, Gutaiului Mountains, pollenstratigraphy, macrofossil remains, Lateglacial, Holocene, tree refugia, tree dynamics, past climate, human influence
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-108 (URN)91-7265-837-8 (ISBN)
Public defence
2004-05-06, De Geersalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 8 A, Stockholm, 13:00
Available from: 2004-04-15 Created: 2004-04-15Bibliographically approved

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