Reconstruction of vegetation and climate of the past of the central Caucasus for materials from the Tarskoe swamp
Keywords:North Caucasus, Holocene, pollen analysis, paleoecology, microcharcoal
The reconstruction of vegetation changes of foothill zone in the central part of the North Caucasus based on the data of the Tarskoe swamp is presented. The swamp is the largest in this region of the Caucasus and is the most promising peat paleoarchive. It has been studied earlier, but the cores were poorly dated. The Tarskoe was re-drilled, the sediments were dated, and pollen and microcharcoal analysis were carried out. Twelve radiocarbon dates were obtained for the deposits, the age of the bottom sediments was about 4.6 cal. ka BP. Based on the data obtained, it was possible to establish that the of the bogging occurred against the background of more open landscapes, with a greater proportion of meadows than at present. Only after 4.4 cal ka BP broad-leaved forests become more closed, in their composition Fagus were dominant, with alternating admixture of Carpinus, Ulmus and Alnus. The increase of Alnus after Cyperaceae is most likely reflect local changes, since this tree species settled in the swamp at a late stage of its development. The dynamics of fire activity is interesting, it is most pronounced in the intervals between 4.4-3.3 cal. ka BP and than from 2.2 cal. ka BP until present. The frequency of fires is probably related not to climate, but to anthropogenic activities. In almost all cases, this coincides with the appearance of cultivated cereals pollen and with an increase in the diversity and quantity of grasses associated with humans (weeds). Thus, the obtained data for the first time give a possibility to construct a dated sequence of changes in the composition of broad-leaved forests of the belt of Caucasus piedmont and confirmed the appearance of cultivated cereals pollen about 4.3 cal. ka BP, which is probably associated with agriculture of the Maikop culture.
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