The Carpathian Mountains were one of the main mountain reserves of the boreal and cool temperate flora during the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM) in East-Central Europe. Previous studies demonstrated Lateglacial vegetation dynamics in this area; however, our knowledge on the LGM vegetation composition is very limited due to the scarcity of suitable sedimentary archives. Here we present a new record of vegetation, fire and lacustrine sedimentation from the youngest volcanic crater of the Carpathians (Lake St Anne, Lacul Sfânta Ana, Szent-Anna-tó) to examine environmental change in this region during the LGM and the subsequent deglaciation. Our record indicates the persistence of boreal forest steppe vegetation (with Pinus, Betula, Salix, Populus and Picea) in the foreland and low mountain zone of the East Carpathians and Juniperus shrubland at higher elevation. We demonstrate attenuated response of the regional vegetation to maximum global cooling. Between ~22,870 and 19,150calyr BP we find increased regional biomass burning that is antagonistic with the global trend. Increased regional fire activity suggests extreme continentality likely with relatively warm and dry summers. We also demonstrate xerophytic steppe expansion directly after the LGM, from ~19,150calyr BP, and regional increase in boreal woodland cover with Pinus and Betula from 16,300calyr BP. Plant macrofossils indicate local (950ma.s.l.) establishment of Betula nana and Betula pubescens at 15,150calyr BP, Pinus sylvestris at 14,700calyr BP and Larix decidua at 12,870calyr BP. Pollen data furthermore support population genetic inferences regarding the regional presence of some temperate deciduous trees during the LGM (Fagus sylvatica, Corylus avellana, Fraxinus excelsior). Our sedimentological data also demonstrate intensified aeolian dust accumulation between 26,000 and 20,000calyr BP.
- Biomass burning
- Boreal and temperate tree refugia
- Grass steppe
- Magnetic susceptibility
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Global and Planetary Change
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics