Pedological and botanical records of environment changes of Yamskaya Steppe (Belgorod Oblast, Russia) in Holocene

Yu G. Chendev, E. G. Ershova, A. L. Alexandrovsky, E. V. Ponomarenko, A. A. Gol'eva, O. S. Khokhlova, A. V. Rusakov, A. S. Shapovalov

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


In the natural reserve "Belogorie" at the Yamskaya Steppe site, located in the south of the Central-Russian Upland, a wide range of subjects were studied aiming identification and analysis of paleo-pedological and paleobotanical indicators of environmental change in different historical periods of the Holocene. The study subjects included paleosoil buried under the earth mound of the Bronze Age, background virgin Chernozem near the mound, soil buried under the cast of marmot, and the soils in the ravine-gully deposits on bottom of gully. Using a complex of methods, including soil-archaeological, palynological, microbiomorphic, pedoanthracological, radiocarbon and paleogeographic reconstructions, was allowed to reveal a complicated combination of natural and human-induced changes in the meadow and meadowsteppe landscapes of the Yamskaya Steppe site in the Holocene. Watershed spaces were characterized by contrasting changes of vegetation types during studied period. The high degree of natural afforestation was observed for 6000-6500 yrs BP. Later, up to nowadays, on the watersheds the meadow-steppe type of landscape was dominated. The phase of increased afforestation was also observed in the beginning of the Subboreal period of Holocene (before 4600 years ago), but this time the development of forests was limited by their spread in the ravines. The Late Holocene was heterogeneous in relation to bioclimatic onditions with alternating wet and relatively dry phases, but their exact identification is complicated by the increasing of anthropogenic impacts on vegetation. Starting with the Subboreal period of Holocene the anthropogenic disturbance of landscapes became apparent, first in the form of periodic burning of steppes, and in the Sub-Atlantic period of Holocene - as a combination of burning and cultivation of agricultural crops on individual plots within the study area. Thus, the meadow-steppe environments in the south of the Central-Russian Upland, preserved nowadays only in the reserves, had a complex history of development in the past including climatogenic and anthropogenic transformation of soils and vegetation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)75-89
Number of pages15
JournalIzvestiya Rossiiskaya Akademii Nauk, Seriya Geograficheskaya
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2016

Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


  • Evolution of natural environment
  • Holocene
  • Paleogeographic reconstructions
  • Soil
  • South of Central Russian upland
  • Vegetation
  • Yamskaya Steppe

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