Regional vegetation history

Lang, Gerhard; Ammann, Brigitta; van der Knaap, W.O. (Pim); Morales-Molino, César; Schwörer, Christoph; Tinner, Willy (2023). Regional vegetation history. In: Lang, Gerhard; Ammann, Brigitta; Behre, Karl-Ernst; Tinner, Willy (eds.) Quaternary Vegetation Dynamics of Europe (pp. 150-246). Bern: Haupt Verlag

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Basics and principles of vegetation history reconstruction since the Last Glacial Maximum
During the coolest periods of the Weichselian glaciation large parts of Europe were treeless and vast areas in the north and the higher mountains in the south were under glacier ice. With the rapid rise of temperature during the Late-glacial and the Early Holocene – interrupted by cooling phases – these ice masses melted, except for small remnants in high latitudes and at high elevations. Various species of trees and shrubs started to spread over the continent but every species behaved differently. This means that taxa that form distinct communities today did not necessarily spread and move as communities. In addition, some of the early communities may have no modern analogue. Although, at a very coarse scale, this ‘migration’ of woody taxa took place mainly from south to north, it was by no means a simple front-like spread. At least four aspects caused a differential spread of taxa: (1) the location and number of glacial refugia, (2) the potential taxon-specific speed of the spread, (3) possible barriers (sea or mountain chains) and (4) species-specific ecological requirements, for example temperatures (annual means or summer means), moisture, seasonality or frequency of (late) frost, plus other non-climatic conditions such as soils. Therefore, various species became dominant or sub-dominant in different areas during the Late-glacial and the Holocene. In contrast to earlier interglacials not only climate change but also prehistoric human impact played a role in these spatially differentiated sequences of vegetation types.

Item Type:

Book Section (Book Chapter)


08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Plant Sciences (IPS)
08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Plant Sciences (IPS) > Palaeoecology

UniBE Contributor:

Lang, Gerhard, Ammann, Brigitta, van der Knaap, Pim, Morales del Molino, Cesar, Schwörer, Christoph, Tinner, Willy


500 Science > 580 Plants (Botany)




Haupt Verlag




Peter Alfred von Ballmoos-Haas

Date Deposited:

08 Aug 2023 12:08

Last Modified:

04 Sep 2023 14:31




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