Changes in forest cover in China during the Holocene
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- Ren, G. Veget Hist Archaeobot (2007) 16: 119. doi:10.1007/s00334-006-0075-5
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Pollen map data at 2000-year intervals are used to reconstruct changes in Holocene forest cover in China north of the Yangtze River. In almost all regions, the early Holocene from 10 ka b.p. to 6 ka b.p. is characterised by an increase in forest cover although there was a reversal to lower forest cover at 8 ka b.p. in the eastern monsoon regions. A maximum of forest cover was reached at 6 ka b.p. in all regions except for Northeast China where forest cover peaked in the late Holocene. All regions except for Northeast China experienced a marked decline in forest cover after 6 ka b.p. Since 6 ka b.p., forest cover has decreased by about 92% in the middle and lower reaches of the Yellow River, 64% in the easternmost part of the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau and 37% between the Yangtze River and the Huaihe River. In contrast, forest cover in Northeast China increased significantly from 6 ka b.p., but has declined between 2 ka b.p. and the present. Changes in forest cover prior to 6 ka b.p. were probably caused by climate, but the evident drop in forest cover since that time in most regions may have been induced predominantly by human activities.