A continuous paleorecord of vegetation and environmental change from Erxianyan Wetland over the past 60,000 years in central China

Publication Name

Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology


Reconstructing environmental changes for the last glacial-interglacial cycles in central China plays a key role in deciphering vegetation history and the evolution of the East Asia summer monsoon (EASM). Previous studies have documented climate changes since the Last Glacial Maximum (LGM), but climate dynamics associated with orbital and millennial time-scales is yet to be fully described and understood. In this study, pollen, charcoal, geochemistry and AMS14C dating were performed on a 290 cm long sediment core obtained from the Erxianyan Wetland in central China to reconstruct the environmental history in central China. It covers the past 60,000 years. The region was dominated by Quercus during the Marine Isotope Stage (MIS) 3, and this, together with fire and geochemistry records, indicates that climate was then warm and humid. A cooling and drying trend occurred between MIS 2 and the late Holocene when subtropical broad-leaved trees decreased, along with an increase in herb taxa and ferns, and more frequent fires occurred. On millennial time scales, the abrupt changes of geochemistry parameters corresponded to Heinrich events, resulting from weaker EASM intensities. In addition, orbital timescale changes may be related to precipitation delivery caused by the strength of the EASM, which was driven by the Northern Hemisphere solar radiation budget.

Open Access Status

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Funding Sponsor

National Natural Science Foundation of China



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