A c. 9720-year history of a mountain lake–mire complex on the Shufan Plateau (southern Primorye, Russian Far East) is based on a multi-proxy study of peat deposits. The chronology is based on eight radiocarbon dates in addition to two dated tephra horizons. The sediment contains eight cryptotephra layers attributable to Baitoushan, a volcano on the Korea/China border. Pollen, diatom and botanical macrofossil analyses indicate climate fluctuations during the Holocene and a compositional response of biodiverse mountain forests to changes in temperature and humidity. Widespread, diverse broadleaf-dominated forest marked a warm Early Holocene (~9500–9280 cal. a BP). Korean pine (Pinus koraiensis) rose to dominance in the Middle Holocene (after c. 7630 cal. a BP). Evergreen conifers, fir (Abies) in particular, became widespread after 2.9 ka BP and show a positive response to the Little Ice Age cooling. Over the c. 10 000-year record, moisture appears largely controlled by gradually declining intensity of the summer monsoon, trending from moist conditions in the Early Holocene to cooler and drier conditions in the Late Holocene with shorter-term hydrological changes superimposed. Peat composition indicates significant changes in mire vegetation, and diatom assemblages indicate four stages of inundation and three dry stages in the basin, probably controlled by precipitation changes. The initial importance of atmospheric precipitation shifted over time to a greater input from groundwater. During a long episode in the Late Holocene the basin may have dried out. Forest fires occurred during much of the Middle and Late Holocene, and their prominence, as marked by macro-charcoal, is related to changes in humidity. Human activities mark the past few centuries. Medieval fires were probably anthropogenic, and there is evidence of agricultural impact on the landscape during the Jin Empire settlement period 900–700 years ago and of more recent forest exploitation, particularly a reduction in conifer taxa.
Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- ASIAN SUMMER MONSOON
- CLIMATE DYNAMICS
- POLLEN RECORD