Exploring the role of humans and climate over the Balkan landscape: 500 years of vegetational history of Serbia

Kulkarni, Charuta; Peteet, Dorothy; Boger, Rebecca and Linda, Heusser (2016). Exploring the role of humans and climate over the Balkan landscape: 500 years of vegetational history of Serbia. Quaternary Science Reviews, 144 pp. 83–94.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.quascirev.2016.05.021

Abstract

We present the first, well-dated, high-resolution record of vegetation and landscape change from Serbia, which spans the past 500 years. Biological proxies (pollen, spores, and charcoal), geochemical analysis through X-ray Fluorescence (XRF), and a detailed chronology based on AMS 14C dating from a western Serbian sinkhole core suggest complex woodland-grassland dynamics and strong erosional signals throughout the Little Ice Age (LIA). An open landscape with prominent steppe vegetation (e.g. Poaceae, Chenopodiaceae) and minor woodland exists during 1540–1720CE (early LIA), while the late LIA (1720-1850CE) in this record shows higher tree percentages possibly due to increased moisture availability. The post LIA Era (1850–2012CE) brings a disturbed type of vegetation with the presence of weedy genera and an increase in regional woodland. Anthropogenic indicators for agricultural, pastoral and fire practices in the region together attest to the dominant role of humans in shaping this Balkan landscape throughout the interval. The changing nature of human interference, potentially as a response to underlying climatic transitions, is evident through large-scale soil depletion resulting from grazing and land clearance during the early LIA and stabilization of arable lands during the late and post-LIA eras.

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  • Item ORO ID
  • 73915
  • Item Type
  • Journal Item
  • ISSN
  • 0277-3791
  • Academic Unit or School
  • Other Departments > Other Departments
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  • © 2016 Elsevier Ltd
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