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Holocene climate variability, vegetation dynamics and fire regime in the central Pyrenees: the Basa de la Mora sequence (NE Spain)



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Pérez Sanz, Ana and González Sampériz, Penélope and Moreno Bofarull, Ana and Valero Garcés, Blas and Gil Romera, G. and Rieradevall, M. and Tarrats, P. and Lasheras Álvarez, L. and Morellón Marteles, Mario and Belmonte, Ânchel and Sancho Marcén, Carlos and Sevilla Callejo, M. and Navas, A. (2013) Holocene climate variability, vegetation dynamics and fire regime in the central Pyrenees: the Basa de la Mora sequence (NE Spain). Quaternary science review, 73 . pp. 149-169. ISSN 0277-3791

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Official URL: https://www.journals.elsevier.com/quaternary-science-reviews/


High resolution multiproxy data (pollen, sedimentology, geochemistry, chironomids and charcoal) from the Basa de la Mora (BSM) lake sequence (42° 32′ N, 0° 19′ E, 1914 m a.s.l.) show marked climate variability in the central southern Pyrenees throughout the Holocene. A robust age model based on 15 AMS radiocarbon dates underpins the first precise reconstruction of rapid climate changes during the Holocene from this area. During the Early Holocene, increased winter snowpack and high snowmelt during summer, as a consequence of high seasonality, led to higher lake levels, a chironomid community dominated by non-lacustrine taxa (Orthocladiinae) related to higher inlet streams, and a forested landscape with intense run-off processes in the watershed. From 9.8 to 8.1 cal ka BP, climate instability is inferred from rapid and intense forest shifts and high fluctuation in surface run-off. Shifts among conifers and mesophytes reveal at least four short-lived dry events at 9.7, 9.3, 8.8 and 8.3 cal ka BP. Between 8.1 and 5.7 cal ka BP a stable climate with higher precipitation favoured highest lake levels and forest expansion, with spread of mesophytes, withdrawal of conifers and intensification of fires, coinciding with the Holocene Climate Optimum. At 5.7 cal ka BP a major change leading to drier conditions contributed to a regional decline in mesophytes, expansion of pines and junipers, and a significant lake level drop. Despite drier conditions, fire activity dropped as consequence of biomass reduction. Two arid intervals occurred between 2.9 and 2.4 cal ka BP and at 1.2–0.7 cal ka BP (800–1300 AD). The latter coincides with the Medieval Climate Anomaly and is one of the most arid phases of the Holocene in BSM sequence. Anthropogenic disturbances were small until 700 AD, when human pressure over landscape intensified, with Olea cultivation in the lowlands and significant deforestation in highlands. Colder and unfavourable weather conditions during the second part of the Little Ice Age caused a temporary cease of high-land management. The most intense anthropogenic disturbances occurred during the second half of 19th century. Last decades are characterized by recovery of the vegetation cover as a result of land abandonment, and lowered lake levels, probably due to higher temperatures.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:Holocene; Central Pyrenees; Climate evolution; Vegetation history; Palaeohydrology; Fire; Abrupt changes.
Subjects:Sciences > Geology > Geodynamics
ID Code:70103
Deposited On:07 Feb 2022 07:59
Last Modified:07 Feb 2022 17:06

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