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

Kuosmanen, N and Fang, K and Bradshaw, R H W and Clear, J L and Seppa, H (2015) Long-term forest composition and its drivers in taiga forests in NW Russia. Vegetation History and Archeobotany, 25 (3). pp. 221-236. ISSN 0939-6314

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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.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information and Comments: The final publication is available at https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00334-015-0542-y
Faculty / Department: Faculty of Science > Geography and Environmental Science
Depositing User: Jennifer Clear
Date Deposited: 12 Jun 2017 08:39
Last Modified: 12 Jun 2017 08:39
URI: https://hira.hope.ac.uk/id/eprint/2034

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