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Present-day and mid-Holocene biomes reconstructed from pollen and plant macrofossil data from the former Soviet Union and Mongolia

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Fossil pollen data supplemented by tree macrofossil records were used to reconstruct the vegetation of the Former Soviet Union and Mongolia at 6000 years. Pollen spectra were assigned to biomes using the plant-functional-type method developed by Prentice et al. (1996). Surface pollen data and a modern vegetation map provided a test of the method. This is the first time such a broad-scale vegetation reconstruction for the greater part of northern Eurasia has been attempted with objective techniques. The new results confirm previous regional palaeoenvironmental studies of the mid-Holocene while providing a comprehensive synopsis and firmer conclusions. West of the Ural Mountains temperate deciduous forest extended both northward and southward from its modern range. The northern limits of cool mixed and cool conifer forests were also further north than present. Taiga was reduced in European Russia, but was extended into Yakutia where now there is cold deciduous forest. The northern limit of taiga was extended (as shown by increased Picea pollen percentages, and by tree macrofossil records north of the present-day forest limit) but tundra was still present in north-eastern Siberia. The boundary between forest and steppe in the continental interior did not shift substantially, and dry conditions similar to present existed in western Mongolia and north of the Aral Sea.
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Keywords: Biome; Former Soviet Union; Mongolia; Russia; plant functional types; pollen taxa; vegetation changes; vegetation maps

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Dynamic Palaeoclimatology, Lund University, Box 117, S-221 00 Lund, Sweden (Fax:+46 46 2223635) 2: Department of Geological Sciences, Brown University, Rhode Island 02912–1846, USA (Fax:+1401 8632058) 3: Institute of Geography, Russian Academy of Sciences, Staromonetny 29, Moscow 109017, Russia (Fax:+7095 2302090) 4: Department of Biology, Moscow State University, Vorobievy Gory, Moscow119899, Russia 5: Institute of Biology, Ukrainian Academy of Sciences, Repina 2, Kiev, Ukraine 6: Institute of Biology and Biophysics, Tomsk State University, Prospekt Lenina 36, Tomsk 634050, Russia 7: Department of Geography, Moscow State University, Vorobievy Gory, Moscow 119899, Russia (Fax:+7095 9392123) 8: Laboratoire de Botanique Historique et Palynologie, CNRS UA 1152, Faculté de St-Jérôme, Case 451, F-13397 Marseille cedex 20, France (Fax:+33 91 208668) 9: Department of Geography & Geoecology, St.-Petersburg University, 10 Liniya 33, St.-Petersburg 199178, Russia 10: Institute of Evolution and Ecology, Russian Academy of Sciences, Piatnitskaya 47, Stroenie 3, Moscow 109017, Russia (Fax:+7095 9530713) 11: Institute of Biology, Russian Academy of Sciences (Karelian Branch), Pushkinskaya 11, Petrozavodsk 185610, Russia 12: Forest Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences (Siberian Branch), Akademgorodok, Krasnoyarsk 660036, Russia 13: Department of Plant Ecology, Lund University, Ekologihuset, Sölvegatan 37, S-223 62 Lund, Sweden (Fax:+46 46 2223742) 14: Institute of Limnology, Russian Academy of Sciences, Sevastyanova 9, St.-Petersburg 196199, Russia (Fax:+7812 2987327) 15: Institute of Palaeobiology, Georgian Academy of Sciences, Potomaja 4, Tbilisi 380004, Georgia (Fax:+78832 998823) 16: Central Geological Laboratory, Zvenigorodskoe Shosse 9, Moscow, Russia (Fax:+7095 4308458) 17: Forest Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences (Ural Branch) Bilimbaevskaya 32 A, Ekaterinburg 620134, Russia (Fax:+73432 520853) 18: Institute of Geology, Estonian Academy of Sciences, Estonia Avenue 7, Tallinn EE-0105, Estonia (Fax:+372 6312074) 19: Institute of Geology, Russian Academy of Sciences (Siberian Branch), Universitetskii 3, Novosibirsk 630090, Russia (Fax:+73832 351351) 20: Institute of Geological Sciences, Zhodinskaya 7, Minsk 220141, Belarus (Fax:+70172 636398)

Publication date: November 1, 1998

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