Towards mapping the late Quaternary vegetation change of Europe

Giesecke, Thomas; Davis, Basil; Brewer, Simon; Finsinger, Walter; Wolters, Steffen; Blaauw, Maarten; de Beaulieu, Jacques-Louis; Binney, Heather; Fyfe, Ralph M.; Gaillard, Marie-José; Gil-Romera, Graciela; van der Knaap, Willem Oscar; Kuneš, Petr; Kühl, Norbert; van Leeuwen, Jacqueline; Leydet, Michelle; Lotter, André F.; Ortu, Elena; Semmler, Malte and Bradshaw, Richard H. W. (2014). Towards mapping the late Quaternary vegetation change of Europe. Vegetation History and Archaeobotany, 23(1), pp. 75-86. Springer 10.1007/s00334-012-0390-y

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The number of well-dated pollen diagrams in Europe has increased considerably over the last 30 years and many of them have been submitted to the European Pollen Database (EPD). This allows for the construction of increasingly precise maps of Holocene vegetation change across the continent. Chronological information in the EPD has been expressed in uncalibrated radiocarbon years, and most chronologies to date are based on this time scale. Here we present new chronologies for most of the datasets stored in the EPD based on calibrated radiocarbon years. Age information associated with pollen diagrams is often derived from the pollen stratigraphy itself or from other sedimentological information. We reviewed these chronological tie points and assigned uncertainties to them. The steps taken to generate the new chronologies are described and the rationale for a new classification system for age uncertainties is introduced. The resulting chronologies are fit for most continental-scale questions. They may not provide the best age model for particular sites, but may be viewed as general purpose chronologies. Taxonomic particularities of the data stored in the EPD are explained. An example is given of how the database can be queried to select samples with appropriate age control as well as the suitable taxonomic level to answer a specific research question.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Review Article)


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:

van der Knaap, Willem Oscar; van Leeuwen, Jacqueline and Lotter, André F.


500 Science > 580 Plants (Botany)








Peter Alfred von Ballmoos-Haas

Date Deposited:

11 Mar 2016 14:55

Last Modified:

12 Mar 2021 07:28

Publisher DOI:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

EPD; European pollen database; Chronology; Age-depth relationships; Age uncertainty; Plantago lanceolata




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