Holocene vegetation and fire dynamics at Crveni Potok, a small mire in the Dinaric Alps (Tara National Park, Serbia)
© 2017 Elsevier Ltd.
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We analysed sediments from Crveni Potok (Tara Mountains, Serbia), a key site in the Dinaric Alps because it is located within the restricted distribution range of the endemic conifer Picea omorika (Serbian spruce), and thereby bears a unique potential in revealing its Holocene history. We used a set of proxies (pollen, plant-macrofossils, charcoal) to reconstruct the long-term vegetation and fire histories at different spatial scales. The comprehensive snapshot provided by the reconstructions fill an important gap of European long-term vegetation and fire histories in the overall data-coverage poor region of the Dinaric Alps. The reconstructions unfolded an unusual late-Holocene persistence of high forest cover that contrasts with the large majority of European landscape-scale forest-cover records, which show massive anthropogenic openings in the past two millennia. We also found evidence for good post-fire recovery of the currently threatened endemic P. omorika populations. This leads us to suggest that prescribed-burning programmes may be beneficial to reduce the vulnerability of the species, and for ecological restoration and conservation purposes of the declining and endangered populations.
Keywords:Dinaric Alps; Eastern Europe; Fire history; Holocene; Palaeoecology; Picea omorika; Pollen; Vegetation dynamics
- Evaluation of ecophysiological and genetic plant diversity in forest ecosystems (RS-173011)
- French ANR (grant number ANR-09-CEP-004-01/OBRESOC)
- SNSF International Short-Research Visit Fellowship to WF (grant number 157235)
- IdEx Bordeaux Postdoctoral Fellowship (VECLIMED)
In: Quaternary Science Reviews (2017), 167: 63-77