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Pollen-based reconstructions of Japanese biomes at 0, 6000 and 18,000 14C  yr  bp

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A biomization method, which objectively assigns individual pollen assemblages to biomes ( Prentice et al., 1996 ), was tested using modern pollen data from Japan and applied to fossil pollen data to reconstruct palaeovegetation patterns 6000 and 18,000 14C yr bpBiomization started with the assignment of 135 pollen taxa to plant functional types (PFTs), and nine possible biomes were defined by specific combinations of PFTs.

Biomes were correctly assigned to 54% of the 94 modern sites. Incorrect assignments occur near the altitudinal limits of individual biomes, where pollen transport from lower altitudes blurs the local pollen signals or continuous changes in species composition characterizes the range limits of biomes. As a result, the reconstructed changes in the altitudinal limits of biomes at 6000 and 18,000 14C yr bpare likely to be conservative estimates of the actual changes.

The biome distribution at 6000 14C yr bpwas rather similar to today, suggesting that changes in the bioclimate of Japan have been small since the mid-Holocene.

At 18,000 14C yr bpthe Japanese lowlands were covered by taiga and cool mixed forests. The southward expansion of these forests and the absence of broadleaved evergreen/warm mixed forests reflect a pronounced year-round cooling.
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Keywords: Japan; Pollen data; biomes; last glacial maximum; mid-Holocene; plant functional types; vegetation changes

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: University Forest, Kyoto Prefectural University, Kyoto 606–8522, Japan, 2: Department of Biosphere-Geosphere System Science, Faculty of Informatics, Okayama University of Science, Okayama 700–0005, Japan, 3: Research Institute of Natural Science, Okayama University of Science, Okayama 700–0005, Japan, 4: Department of Elementary Education, Chiba Keizai College, Chiba 263–0021, Japan

Publication date: 2000-05-01

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