Persistence of Artemisia steppe in the Tangra Yumco Basin, west-central Tibet, China: despite or in consequence of Holocene lake-level changes?

Miehe, Sabine; Miehe, Georg; van Leeuwen, Jacqueline F. N.; Wrozyna, Claudia; van der Knaap, Willem Oscar; Duo, La; Haberzettl, Torsten (2014). Persistence of Artemisia steppe in the Tangra Yumco Basin, west-central Tibet, China: despite or in consequence of Holocene lake-level changes? Journal of Paleolimnology, 51(2), pp. 267-285. Kluwer Academic 10.1007/s10933-013-9720-z

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The closed Tangra Yumco Basin underwent the strongest Quaternary lake-level changes so far recorded on the Tibetan Plateau. It was hitherto unknown what effect this had on local Holocene vegetation development. A 3.6-m sediment core from a recessional lake terrace at 4,700 m a.s.l., 160 m above the present lake level of Tangra Yumco, was studied to reconstruct Holocene flooding phases (sedimentology and ostracod analyses), vegetation dynamics and human influence (palynology, charcoal and coprophilous fungi analyses). Peat at the base of the profile proves lake level was below 4,700 m a.s.l. during the Pleistocene/Holocene transition. A deep-lake phase started after 11 cal ka BP, but the ostracod record indicates the level was not higher than similar to 4,720 m a.s.l. (180 m above present) and decreased gradually after the early Holocene maximum. Additional sediment ages from the basin suggest recession of Tangra Yumco from the coring site after 2.6 cal ka BP, with a shallow local lake persisting at the site until similar to 1 cal ka BP. The final peat formation indicates drier conditions thereafter. Persistence of Artemisia steppe during the Holocene lake high-stand resembles palynological records from west Tibet that indicate early Holocene aridity, in spite of high lake levels that may have resulted from meltwater input. Yet pollen assemblages indicate humidity closer to that of present potential forest areas near Lhasa, with 500-600 mm annual precipitation. Thus, the early mid-Holocene humidity was sufficient to sustain at least juniper forest, but Artemisia dominance persisted as a consequence of a combination of environmental disturbances such as (1) strong early Holocene climate fluctuations, (2) inundation of habitats suitable for forest, (3) extensive water surfaces that served as barriers to terrestrial diaspore transport from refuge areas, (4) strong erosion that denuded the non-flooded upper slopes and (5) increasing human influence since the late glacial.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Plant Sciences (IPS)
10 Strategic Research Centers > Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research (OCCR)
08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Plant Sciences (IPS) > Palaeoecology

UniBE Contributor:

van Leeuwen, Jacqueline and van der Knaap, Willem Oscar

Subjects:

500 Science > 580 Plants (Botany)

ISSN:

0921-2728

Publisher:

Kluwer Academic

Language:

English

Submitter:

Peter Alfred von Ballmoos-Haas

Date Deposited:

27 Apr 2014 15:34

Last Modified:

17 Sep 2015 08:22

Publisher DOI:

10.1007/s10933-013-9720-z

Uncontrolled Keywords:

Tibetan Plateau, Pollen, Spores, Ostracods, Charcoal, Human impact, Vegetation ecology, Asian monsoon

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.51403

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/51403

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