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Quaternary Vegetation

Pollen analysis is an excellent tool for reconstructing vegetational changes and can also be used to reconstruct climate quantitavely Pollen is abundant and well-preserved in some sediments (for example, lakes and bogs) in which the lack of oxygen prevents the plant remains from decomposing. In many cases, the sediments accumulate over time, allowing for the investigation of the development of vegetation over long periods of time. Pollen analysis is complemented by the analysis of macro remains such as leaves and fruits, which in general indicate that these plants grew very close to the sample site.

Particularly useful are sediments that not only provide continuous records of past vegetation, but also provide good chronological control by having annual lamination (varves). Recent investigations in Bonn on Holocene vegetation history include investigations of laminated sediments from the Eifel region (BRAUER et al. 2001, LITT et al. 2001, LITT et al., 2009) and the Dead Sea (LITT 2005). The laminated sediments of Lake Van in Turkey will be the focus of the next drilling campaign (LITT et al. 2009), a project associated with the International Continental Scientific Drilling Program (ICDP).



BRAUER, A., LITT, T., NEGENDANK, J.F.W., and ZOLITSCHKA, B. (2001): Lateglacial varve chronology and biostratigraphy of lakes Holzmaar and Meerfelder Maar, Germany. - Boreas, 30: 83-88.

LITT T. (2005): Holozäne Vegetations- und Klimageschichte im Einzugsgebiet des Toten Meeres (Naher Osten). - Ber. d. Reinh.-Tüxen-Ges. 17:85-92.

LITT, T., BRAUER, A., GOSLAR, T., MERKT, J., BALAGA, K., MÜLLER, H., RALSKA-JASIEWICZOWA, M., STEBICH, M., and NEGENDANK, J.F.W. (2001): Correlation and synchronisation of Lateglacial continental sequences in northern central Europe based on annually laminated lacustrine sediments. - Quaternary Science Reviews, 20: 1233-1249.

LITT, T., SCHMINCKE, H.-U., and KROMER, B. (2003): Environmental response to climatic and volcanic events in central Europe during the Weichselian Lateglacial. - Quaternary Science Reviews, 22: 7-32.

LITT, T., SCHÖLZEL, C., KÜHL, N., BRAUER, A. (2009): Vegetation and climate history in the Westeifel Volcanic Field (Germany) during the last 11,000 years based on annually laminated lacustrine sediments.  Boreas, in press, early view: doi: 10.1111/j.1502-3885.2009.00096.

LITT, T., KRASTEL, S., STURM, M., KIPFER, R., ÖRCEN, S., HEUMANN, G., FRANZ, S.O., ÜLGEN, U.B., NIESSEN, F. (2009). PALEOVAN, International Continental Scientific Drilling Program, (ICDP): Results of a recent site survey and perspectives. - Quaternary Science Reviews 28:1555-1567