Late Holocene development of the vegetation cover of Putyatin Island (Peter the Great Bay, Sea of Japan)

Pacific Geographical Institute FEB RAS, Vladivostok, Russia

The island offers exceptional opportunities for investigating distribution and development of the local flora. The goal of this research is to analyze the current state of soil-vegetation cover and to reconstruct Putyatin Island palaeovegetation. Vascular plants and lichens were used as indicators of the current status of vegetation. In different types of landscapes soil profiles were laid. For reconstructing vegetation dynamics, soil samples were collected from genetic horizons of the soil profiles for spore-pollen analysis. The contemporary vegetation of the island comprises anthropogenically transformed forests, broadleaved forests, shrubby associations, grassy associations of swamps, lakes and coasts. Broad-leaved forests are represented largely by Quercus mongolica, Tilia amurensis, Ulmus japonica, Fraxinus rhynchophylla, Betula davurica, B. platyphylla, Acer mono, A. pseudosieboldianum, Phellodendron amurense, Carpinus cordata, Kalopanax septemlobus. Most lichen communities consist of Flavoparmelia caperata, Myelochroa aurulenta, Parmotrema reticulatum, Phaeophyscia hirtuosa which are widely spread along the entire shore of Peter the Great Bay. In the Northern part of the island, lichen communities, which include rare lichen species Cococarpia palmicola, Anzia colpodes, Pannaria lurida, Usnea rubicunda, are found. The lichens show evidence of oppression in some places. The soil cover under the forest stand on Putyatin Island is represented by brown soils. The soil profile is shallow and highly skeletal. Spore-pollen analysis data give evidence of several stages of vegetation development in Putyatin Island in late Holocene; all stages are connected with general regional fluctuations of climate. The first stage witnesses wide distribution of wormwoodforb- shrubby associations and birch forests with coniferous and broadleaved species. The second stage represents development of coniferous-broadleaved forests. The third one that corresponds with present-day vegetation of the island is secondary in origin and results from anthropogenic influence. This study is supported by RFBR grants (12-05-00017, 12-05-00202) and FEB RAS Presidium grants (12-III-A-09-208, 12-III-B-09-200).

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