Organic carbon isotope and molecular fossil records of vegetation evolution in central Loess Plateau since 450 kyr

Zhou , Bin, Wali, Guzalnur, Peterse, Francien, and Bird, Michael I. (2016) Organic carbon isotope and molecular fossil records of vegetation evolution in central Loess Plateau since 450 kyr. Science China Earth Sciences, 59 (6). pp. 1206-1215.

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Significant uncertainties remain regarding the temporal evolution of natural vegetation during the Quaternary, and drivers of past vegetation change, on the Chinese Loess Plateau (CLP). This study presents analyses of total organic carbon isotopic composition (TOC) and n-alkane ratios (C31/C27) from the Lingtai loess-palaeosol sequence on the central CLP over the last 450 kyr. The results demonstrate that the vegetation in this region comprised a mix of C-3 and C-4 plants of herb and woody growth-form. C-3 plants dominated for most of the last 450 kyr, but this did not lead to extensive forest. C-3 woody plants were more abundant in MIS9 (S3 period) and MIS5 (S1 period) during warm and humid climate conditions. Herbs increased in the region since 130 kyr, possibly as a result of increased aridity. On the orbital timescales, there was a reduction of C-3 herbal plants in MIS11 (S4) than in MIS12 (L5), and in Holocene than in the last glacial period. Our isotope and n-alkane proxy records are in agreement with Artemisia pollen changes in the region, which is/was the dominant species in this area and varying due to different heat and water conditions between glacial and interglacial periods. Though the climate in MIS1 (S0) was similar to that in MIS11 (S4), a significant increase in woody plants during the Holocene suggests the impact of human activities and ecological effects of changes in fire activity.

Item ID: 45453
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1869-1897
Keywords: carbon isotopic composition, leaf wax lipids, C-3/C-4 variations, late quaternary vegetation change, glacial/interglacial cycles
Funders: National Natural Science Foundation of China (NNSFC), Science Fund for Creative Research Groups of NSFC (SF CRG NSFC), National Key Basic Research Program of China (NKBRPC)
Projects and Grants: NNSFC #4117214, SF CRG NSFC #41321062, NKBRPC #2015CB953804
Date Deposited: 22 Jun 2016 07:37
FoR Codes: 37 EARTH SCIENCES > 3709 Physical geography and environmental geoscience > 370905 Quaternary environments @ 50%
37 EARTH SCIENCES > 3703 Geochemistry > 370303 Isotope geochemistry @ 25%
37 EARTH SCIENCES > 3703 Geochemistry > 370304 Organic geochemistry @ 25%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9603 Climate and Climate Change > 960310 Global Effects of Climate Change and Variability (excl. Australia, New Zealand, Antarctica and the South Pacific) @ 50%
97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970104 Expanding Knowledge in the Earth Sciences @ 50%
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