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Vegetation History and Archaeobotany

, Volume 25, Issue 3, pp 221–236 | Cite as

Long-term forest composition and its drivers in taiga forest in NW Russia

  • Niina KuosmanenEmail author
  • Heikki Seppä
  • Triin Reitalu
  • Teija Alenius
  • Richard H. W. Bradshaw
  • Jennifer L. Clear
  • Ludmila Filimonova
  • Oleg Kuznetsov
  • Natalia Zaretskaya
Original Article

Abstract

Understanding the processes behind long-term boreal forest dynamics can provide information that assists in predicting future boreal vegetation under changing environmental conditions. Here, we examine Holocene stand-scale vegetation dynamics and its drivers at the western boundary of the Russian taiga forest in NW Russia. Fossil pollen and conifer stomata records from four small hollow sites and two lake sites are used to reconstruct local vegetation dynamics during the Holocene. Variation partitioning is used to assess the relative importance of the potential drivers (temperature, forest fires and growing site wetness) to the long-term stand-scale dynamics in taiga forest. All the main tree taxa, including the boreal keystone species Picea abies (Norway spruce) and Larix sibirica (Siberian larch), have been locally present since 10,000 cal yr bp. The constant Holocene presence of L. sibirica at three small hollow sites suggests a fast postglacial immigration of the species in northern Europe. Picea was present but not dominant at all study sites until its expansion between 8,000 and 7,000 cal yr bp markedly changed the forest structure through the suppression of Betula (birch), Pinus (pine) and Larix. Our results demonstrate that in general, the Holocene forest dynamics in our study region have been driven by temperature, but during short intervals the role of local factors, especially forest fires, has been prominent. The comparison between sites reveals the importance of local factors in stand-scale dynamics in taiga forests. Therefore, the future responses of taiga forest to climate change will be predominantly modulated by the local characteristics at the site.

Keywords

Variation partitioning Holocene Stand-scale dynamics Boreal biome Larix sibirica Picea abies 

Notes

Acknowledgements

We thank Olga Malozemova, Gleb Subetto, Nadezhda Maksutova and Dmitri Subetto for their great help with the organization, logistics and assistance during the fieldwork in the Vologda region, and István Cziczer and Bastian Niemeyer for assistance in the laboratory.

Supplementary material

334_2015_542_MOESM1_ESM.doc (825 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOC 825 kb)

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Niina Kuosmanen
    • 1
    Email author
  • Heikki Seppä
    • 1
  • Triin Reitalu
    • 2
  • Teija Alenius
    • 3
  • Richard H. W. Bradshaw
    • 4
  • Jennifer L. Clear
    • 5
  • Ludmila Filimonova
    • 6
  • Oleg Kuznetsov
    • 6
  • Natalia Zaretskaya
    • 7
  1. 1.Division of Biogeosciences, Department of Geosciences and GeographyUniversity of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland
  2. 2.Institute of GeologyTallinn University of TechnologyTallinnEstonia
  3. 3.Department of Philosophy, History, Culture and Art Studies ArchaeologyUniversity of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland
  4. 4.Department of Geography and PlanningUniversity of LiverpoolLiverpoolUK
  5. 5.Department of Forest EcologyCzech University of Life SciencesPragueCzech Republic
  6. 6.Karelian Research Centre of RASInstitute of BiologyPetrozavodskRussia
  7. 7.Geological Institute of Russian Academy of SciencesMoscowRussia

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