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Modern pollen–vegetation relationships along an altitudinal transect in the Lefka Ori massif (western Crete, Greece)

López-Sáez, José Antonio, Glais, Arthur, Tsiftsis, Spyros, Lezpez, Laurent
Review of palaeobotany and palynology 2018 v.259 pp. 159-170
altitude, climate, correspondence analysis, domestic animals, fungi, grazing intensity, herbivores, islands, pollen, pollen rain, temperature, vegetation, Crete, Greece, Mediterranean region
The paucity of modern pollen rain data from the Aegean islands is a significant barrier to understand the late Quaternary vegetation history of this globally important south-eastern Mediterranean region. This paper presents the study of 30 modern pollen and non-pollen palynomorph assemblages carried out along an altitudinal gradient from 0 to 2453 m in the Lefka Ori massif (eastern Crete, Greece). This research aimed to analyze lowland and highland pollen and NPP in relation to vegetation, climate and grazing, and to evaluate the regional and local significance of modern pollen deposition. Canonical correspondence analysis showed that altitude, precipitation of the driest month, annual mean temperature, precipitation seasonality and grazing are the most significant variables to explain pollen and NPP variability in this area. It also made it possible to characterize pollen and NPP indicators of types of highland and lowland vegetation and grazing pressure. Results obtained corroborate the significant role of coprophilous fungi as local indicators of herbivores in south-eastern Mediterranean mountain areas and suggest the local presence of domestic animals.