Journal of Paleolimnology

, Volume 41, Issue 2, pp 315–327 | Cite as

Late Holocene paleoenvironmental changes in subtropical Taiwan inferred from pollen and diatoms in lake sediments

  • Su-Hwa Chen
  • Jiunn-Tzong WuEmail author
  • Tien-Nan Yang
  • Pei-Pei Chuang
  • Shu-Yue Huang
  • Yun-Sen Wang
Original Paper


We analyzed pollen, spores, diatoms, organic carbon, nitrogen, and δ13C of organic matter in lake sediments to infer climate changes and reconstruct the paleo-environment of subtropical Taiwan over the past ∼1300 years. A 31.5-cm sediment core that represents deposition from 650 AD to present was taken from a mountain lake, Duck Pond, located 760 m a.s.l. We differentiated five zones using cluster analysis on pollen and spore assemblages. Fluctuations in the relative abundances of arboreal taxa, herbaceous plants, and ferns reflect changes in the relative amounts of woody versus grassland vegetation. Such shifts are associated with changes in temperature and humidity and are consistent with climatic periods reported for the temperate region of central China. Climate changes inferred from the pollen assemblages are also correlated well with changes in the ratios of fern spores to pollen, with organic carbon to nitrogen, and with the δ13C values in the sediments. Fluctuations in these data throughout the entire core were in good agreement with the changes in pH inferred from diatom assemblages. This study provides evidence of climate change in northern Taiwan over the past 1.3 millennia, assuming that climate can be inferred from the ratio of arboreal to non-arboreal pollen and from the pH of the aquatic environment.


Late Holocene Paleoclimate Paleolimnology Paleopalynology Diatoms Subtropical Taiwan 



The authors appreciated the financial support provided by National Science Council (NSC 86-2311-B001-005 & NSC 88-2311-B002-008-B27). Professor Yue-Gau Chen in the Department of Geosciences, National Taiwan University was thanked for the permission to use the facilities for stable isotope analysis. The anonymous reviewers were acknowledged for the valuable comments on the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Su-Hwa Chen
    • 1
    • 2
  • Jiunn-Tzong Wu
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  • Tien-Nan Yang
    • 4
  • Pei-Pei Chuang
    • 3
  • Shu-Yue Huang
    • 1
  • Yun-Sen Wang
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Life SciencesNational Taiwan UniversityTaipeiTaiwan
  2. 2.Institute of Ecology and Evolutionary BiologyNational Taiwan UniversityTaipeiTaiwan
  3. 3.Biodiversity Research CenterAcademia SinicaNankang, TaipeiTaiwan
  4. 4.Research Center for Environmental ChangeAcademia SinicaNankang, TaipeiTaiwan

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