Folia Geobotanica

, Volume 45, Issue 3, pp 279–302

Short-Term Vegetation Dynamics of Alnus Dominated Peatlands: a High Resolution Palaeoecological Case Study from Western Pomerania (NE Germany)

  • Alexandra Barthelmes
  • Dörthe Gerloff
  • Pim de Klerk
  • Hans Joosten

DOI: 10.1007/s12224-010-9063-8

Cite this article as:
Barthelmes, A., Gerloff, D., de Klerk, P. et al. Folia Geobot (2010) 45: 279. doi:10.1007/s12224-010-9063-8


Actual ecological research postulates for alder carrs a cyclic alternation of Alnus tree vegetation with open fen or Salix dominated vegetation. Such cycles are also indicated in palaeo-ecological studies, but normally the temporal resolution of these studies is insufficient to resolve the duration of short-term cycles in vegetation development. This paper presents a high resolution palaeoecological study (including pollen, macrofossils and non-pollen palynomorphs) of a Late Holocene wood peat section from the small, long-term Alnus dominated peatland ‘Heger Soll’ in the ‘Rodder Forst’ in Western Pomerania (NE Germany) to reconstruct short-term vegetation changes. During a time-span of ca. 800 years, sedge-dominated fen vegetation types alternated with two phases of Alnus carr and one phase of Salix shrubland. The alder carr decline coincided with the beginning of intensified human activity in the surroundings of the mire and was probably connected to increased water discharge resulting from large-scale deforestation, after which willow scrub and sedge fen became established. Growth of Alnus trees was associated with prolonged phases of reduced human impact and probably less water supply. This study shows that human impact on the uplands surrounding the mire and on the alder carr itself may explain the observed “cyclic” vegetation development of alder carrs, willow scrubs and sedge fens in Central Europe.


Alnus carrs High resolution palaeo-ecology Macrofossil analysis Palynology Salix scrubs Western Pomerania (NE Germany) 

Supplementary material

12224_2010_9063_MOESM1_ESM.doc (1.3 mb)
Electronic Supplementary Material 1ROD upland pollen diagram (Alnus excluded from pollen sum). Relative frequencies are presented as actual values (closed curves) and with a 5-times exaggeration. The “pollen sum” numbers present the number of grains included in the upland pollen sum. For type nomenclature, see text. (DOC 1330 kb)
12224_2010_9063_MOESM2_ESM.doc (1.4 mb)
Electronic Supplementary Material 2Pollen concentration diagram ROF—selected types (grey curves—types excluded from pollen sum). Letters (m, g) and asterisks in brackets indicate the literature sources used for identification (see the text for details) (DOC 1395 kb)
12224_2010_9063_MOESM3_ESM.doc (804 kb)
Electronic Supplementary Material 3ROD macrofossil diagram (selected curves only). The histogram presents real values (in volume % or number N per 25 cm³, closed bars) and a 5-times exaggeration (open bars). For further information, see Barthelmes (2009). (DOC 803 kb)
12224_2010_9063_MOESM4_ESM.doc (470 kb)
Electronic Supplementary Material 4AMS 14C-dates of core ROD. For information on the calibration procedure, see text and Barthelmes (2009). (DOC 470 kb)

Copyright information

© Institute of Botany, Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alexandra Barthelmes
    • 1
  • Dörthe Gerloff
    • 1
  • Pim de Klerk
    • 2
  • Hans Joosten
    • 1
  1. 1.Institute of Botany and Landscape EcologyErnst-Moritz-Arndt-UniversityGreifswaldGermany
  2. 2.Staatliches Museum für Naturkunde KarlsruheKarlsruheGermany

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