The role of oaks in Holocene vegetation of northeastern coast of the Korean Peninsula based on SEM pollen morphology

2 Institute of Biology and Soil Science, Vladivostok, Russia

The modern genus Quercus L. (Fagaceae) includes more than 500 species of evergreen and deciduous trees and shrubs. Members of the genus have a wide geographical range. During the Holocene, oak-dominated forests were also common. For this purpose, species-level identification of fossil pollen may facilitate reconstructions of palaeovegetation and palaeoclimate. We identified species of Quercus fossil pollen grains using scanning electron microscopy: four of them were assigned to deciduous oaks (Q. mongolica type, Q. variabilis type, Q. serrata type, Q. dentata type) and two to evergreen oaks (Q. glauca type, Q. sessillifolia type). Additionally, we observed the continuation of oaks in plant communities of northeastern coast of the Korean Peninsula for the last 10 thousand years. In the Preboreal and Boreal phases (10 300 – 8 000 yr BP), Q. mongolica and Q. serrata were dominant in deciduous broad-leaved forests. In the Atlantic phase (8 000 – 4 500 yr BP), the deciduous oaks Q. mongolica, Q. dentata, Q. serrata were a significant part in the coastal vegetation. In this time, the deciduous Quercus forests prevailed over a wide range in the Korean peninsula. In Subboreal phase (4 500 – 2 500 yr BP), Q. mongolica and Q. serrata dominated the warm-temperate deciduous broad-leaved tree zone where pollen of evergreen oaks Q. glauca and Q. sessillifolia were recognized. Most likely, pollen was transported into sediments by wind or water streams from long-distance regions. The study was supported by the Presidium of the Russian Academy of Sciences and Far East Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences (project no. 12-I-Ï28-01).

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