A 7000-year pollen and plant macrofossil record from the Mid-Russian Upland, European Russia: Vegetation history and human Impact
The paper presents new pollen and plant macrofossil records of environmental changes at the southern boundary of the mixed coniferous-broadleaf forest zone in the north-western part of the Mid-Russian Upland (central European Russia) during the middle and late Holocene. The obtained results show that, between 7000 and 5000 cal yr BP, the study area was situated in a wooded steppe vegetation zone and the boundary between forest and steppe biomes was disposed of 50–70 km further north-west in comparison to its present position. After 5000 cal yr BP the more humid climate conditions resulted in the expansion of broadleaf forests, which persisted in the study area until 2000 cal yr BP. Therefore, the pre-agrarian landscape of these regions was mixed broadleaf forests of Quercus, Tilia, Ulmus and Corylus. Since around 2000 cal yr BP, human activity has been increasingly dominant with enhanced burning, soil erosion, felling of trees and the rise of agriculture. During the last three centuries, human activity resulted in a strong landscape transformation. Nowadays the remnants of the primary forest vegetation are persisted in small locations only.