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Exploring the Role of Humans and Climate over the Balkan Landscape: 500 Years of Vegetational History of SerbiaWe present the first, well-dated, high-resolution record of vegetation and landscape change from Serbia, which spans the past 500 years. Biological proxies (pollen, spores, and charcoal), geochemical analysis through X-ray Fluorescence (XRF), and a detailed chronology based on AMS C-14 dating from a western Serbian sinkhole core suggest complex woodland-grassland dynamics and strong erosional signals throughout the Little Ice Age (LIA). An open landscape with prominent steppe vegetation (e.g. Poaceae, Chenopodiaceae) and minor woodland exists during 1540-1720 CE (early LIA), while the late LIA (1720-1850 CE) in this record shows higher tree percentages possibly due to increased moisture availability. The post LIA Era (1850-2012 CE) brings a disturbed type of vegetation with the presence of weedy genera and an increase in regional woodland. Anthropogenic indicators for agricultural, pastoral and fire practices in the region together attest to the dominant role of humans in shaping this Balkan landscape throughout the interval. The changing nature of human interference, potentially as a response to underlying climatic transitions, is evident through large-scale soil depletion resulting from grazing and land clearance during the early LIA and stabilization of arable lands during the late and post-LIA eras.
Document ID
Document Type
Reprint (Version printed in journal)
Kulkarni, Charuta (City Univ. of New York Brooklyn, NY, United States)
Peteet, Dorothy (NASA Goddard Inst. for Space Studies New York, NY United States)
Boger, Rebecca (City Univ. of New York Brooklyn, NY, United States)
Heusser, Linda (Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory Palisades, NY, United States)
Date Acquired
June 27, 2016
Publication Date
May 30, 2016
Publication Information
Publication: Quaternary Science Reviews
Volume: 144
ISSN: 0277-3791
Subject Category
Earth Resources and Remote Sensing
Meteorology and Climatology
Report/Patent Number
Distribution Limits