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Holocen history of vegetation at “Uroczysko Mokradła” (SW Poland) – paleobotanical research

Tomaszewska, Klara, Malkiewicz, Małgorzata, Podlaska, Magda
Acta agrobotanica 2016 v.69 no.3 pp. aa.1659
Fagus, Picea, Sphagnum, bogs, coniferous forests, deciduous forests, forest communities, habitats, humans, mixed forests, peat, peatlands, pollen, riparian forests, weeds, Poland
Two peat bogs were studied in the Bory Dolnośląskie, the forest complex in Lower Silesia (Poland). An Instorf drill was used to collect two peat profiles from the deepest places. The macroremains analysis showed that after the initiation of peat-forming processes phytocoenoses responsible for the deposition of transition sphagnum peat were developed at both locations. Later on, the development of both peat bogs differed. The smaller peat bog continued to develop, whereas the big bog was shifted to ombrotrophic water regime. Therefore, phytocoenoses accumulated 1.3 m of Sphagnum peat. The peat-forming process was initiated at different times in both sites. For the smaller peat bog, it took place during the Atlantic period, while in the case of the larger peat bog – several thousand years later. The first identified forest phytocoenoses in the Atlantic period are mesophilic multi-species deciduous forests. Dry coniferous forests and mixed birch-pine forests grew in dry habitats. Riparian forests occupied lower grounds. In the Subboreal period, the oak–hazel communities initially developed and mixed coniferous forests were partially replaced by light oak forests. The encroachment of spruce, fir, hornbeam, and beech resulted in the development of dry ground forests, including beech–fir woods. The importance of riparian forests increased, whereas in dry grounds pine and mixed coniferous forests continued to occur. In the Subatlantic period, the transformations in forest communities were associated with the spread of hornbeam, beech, and fir and thereby vast fertile habitats were colonized by dry ground communities and beech woods. Pine and mixed forests as well as riparian forests were of lesser importance. Pollen records from the last 500 years showed the clear presence of humans. It was evident from the presence of cereal and weed pollen and from the disturbances in the pollen records caused by peat extraction in the Middle Ages.