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Pollen- And Charcoal-based Evidence For Climatic And Human Impact On Vegetation In The Northern Edge Of Wuyi Mountains, China, During The Last 8200 Years

Ting Ma, Pavel E Tarasov, Zhuo Zheng, Aiyan Han, Kangyou Huang

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Pollen and charcoal records derived from the sediment core of Lantianyan (LTY) peat bog, Northern Wuyi Mountain chains, eastern subtropical China, provide valuable information of landscape evolution caused by both climatic variation and anthropogenic activities over the past 8200 years. Our results reveal fluvial and lacustrine deposition between c. 8200 and 5600 cal. yr BP. The high proportion of pollen from evergreen broadleaved forests (e.g. Quercus and Castanopsis) and Alnus trees, a taxon frequently occurring in mountain wetlands, implies a humid interval, which is consistent with the Holocene moisture maximum in eastern China. After 5600 cal. yr BP, the spread of the wooded swamp taxon, Glyptostrobus, suggests shallow water conditions and peat formation caused by gradual drying. The drying trend generally corresponds with the speleothem isotope record from this region, revealing a weakening East Asian summer monsoon (EASM) due to a decrease in Northern Hemisphere summer insolation (and in air temperature). Peaks in the abundance and concentration of Glyptostrobus pollen at c. 4600–4400 cal. yr BP and c. 3300–3000 cal. yr BP suggest two periods of swamp expansions, which coincide with the drought intervals revealed by the speleothem records. The LTY pollen and charcoal record demonstrates that human-induced land cover change was negligible before 3600 cal. yr BP. We consider the first signal of intensive human activity and landscape clearing to be the noticeable increase in charcoal particles at around 3600 cal. yr BP. This anthropogenic impact is followed by a dramatic decrease in arboreal pollen and increase in Poaceae pollen percentages, likely reflecting a transition to rice-paddy agriculture in the study area.