Vegetation History and Archaeobotany

, Volume 15, Issue 3, pp 181–190

Desert plant pollen production and a 160-year record of vegetation and climate change on the Alashan Plateau, NW China


    • Alfred Wegener Institute for Polar and Marine Research
    • Department of GeosciencesUniversity of Potsdam
  • Harald Kürschner
    • Freie Universität Berlin, Institute of BiologySystematic Botany and Geobotany
  • Rick Battarbee
    • Environmental Change Research CentreUniversity College London
  • Jonathan Holmes
    • Environmental Change Research CentreUniversity College London
Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s00334-005-0031-9

Cite this article as:
Herzschuh, U., Kürschner, H., Battarbee, R. et al. Veget Hist Archaeobot (2006) 15: 181. doi:10.1007/s00334-005-0031-9


Recent and subfossil pollen spectra from the Alashan Plateau are presented in order to provide information on desert plant representation and on recent changes in vegetation and climate in this remote area in northern China. The desert vegetation composition is faithfully represented by the surface pollen spectra. The comparison of the desert plant species to the related pollen taxa yielded the following sequence from over-representation to under-representation: Chenopodiaceae, Artemisia, Ephedra fragilis-type s.l., Reaumuria, Nitraria and Calligonum. A 72 cm long sediment record from a small hydrologically-closed inter-dune lake (SE Badan Jilin Sand Sea, southern Alashan Plateau) covering the past ∼160 years (dated by137Cs) was analysed palynologically. Intervals of denser Artemisia coverage on the sand dunes around the lake, indicating wetter climate, occurred from the mid-1850s to the mid-1870s, during the first two decades of the 20th century and from the late 1930s to the beginning of the 1960s.


ChinaAlashan GobiBadan Jilin Sand SeaSubfossil and recent pollen spectraRecent climate change

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005