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Holocene Treeline History and Climate Change Across Northern Eurasia

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 January 2017

Glen M. MacDonald
Affiliation:
Departments of Geography and Biology, UCLA, Los Angeles, California 90095-1524
Andrei A. Velichko
Affiliation:
Institute of Geography, Russian Academy of Science, Moscow, Russia 109017
Constantine V. Kremenetski
Affiliation:
Institute of Geography, Russian Academy of Science, Moscow, Russia 109017
Olga K. Borisova
Affiliation:
Institute of Geography, Russian Academy of Science, Moscow, Russia 109017
Aleksandra A. Goleva
Affiliation:
Institute of Geography, Russian Academy of Science, Moscow, Russia 109017
Andrei A. Andreev
Affiliation:
Institute of Geography, Russian Academy of Science, Moscow, Russia 109017
Les C. Cwynar
Affiliation:
Department of Biology, University of New Brunswick, Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada E3B 6E1
Richard T. Riding
Affiliation:
Department of Biology, University of New Brunswick, Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada E3B 6E1
Steven L. Forman
Affiliation:
Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Illinois at Chicago, Chicago, Illinois 60607-7059
Tom W.D. Edwards
Affiliation:
Department of Earth Sciences, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada N2L 3G1
Ramon Aravena
Affiliation:
Department of Earth Sciences, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada N2L 3G1
Dan Hammarlund
Affiliation:
Department of Quaternary Geology, Lund University, Tornav 13, S-223 63 Lund, Sweden
Julian M. Szeicz
Affiliation:
Department of Geography, Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada K7L 3N6
Valery N. Gattaulin
Affiliation:
Research Institute for Marine Geology and Geophysics, Riga, Latvia LV-1226

Abstract

Radiocarbon-dated macrofossils are used to document Holocene treeline history across northern Russia (including Siberia). Boreal forest development in this region commenced by 10,000 yr B.P. Over most of Russia, forest advanced to or near the current arctic coastline between 9000 and 7000 yr B.P. and retreated to its present position by between 4000 and 3000 yr B.P. Forest establishment and retreat was roughly synchronous across most of northern Russia. Treeline advance on the Kola Peninsula, however, appears to have occurred later than in other regions. During the period of maximum forest extension, the mean July temperatures along the northern coastline of Russia may have been 2.5° to 7.0°C warmer than modern. The development of forest and expansion of treeline likely reflects a number of complimentary environmental conditions, including heightened summer insolation, the demise of Eurasian ice sheets, reduced sea-ice cover, greater continentality with eustatically lower sea level, and extreme Arctic penetration of warm North Atlantic waters. The late Holocene retreat of Eurasian treeline coincides with declining summer insolation, cooling arctic waters, and neoglaciation.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
University of Washington

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