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Principal Investigators: Ulrike Herzschuh (AWI Bremerhaven), Martin Claussen (MPI Hamburg), Steffen Mischke (FU Berlin)
Project Scientists:
Jian Ni (AWI Bremerhaven)




Information on past terrestrial biomass changes are crucial to understand the global carbon cycle. Holocene pollen records of monsoonal Central Asia reveal that large-scale vegetation shifts from high-productive forests and steppes to low-productive semi-deserts and deserts occurred since the mid-Holocene. Whether these shifts have to be attributed to human agency or to climate change is uncertain to date. In this project, both proxy-record reanalysis and climate modelling studies will be applied to understand the relationships of Holocene vegetation, climate and pre-historic societies in monsoonal Central Asia (25-50°N; 70-110°E). Concerning proxy-data, our study design comprises (1) quantitative biome reconstruction from pollen data, (2) quantitative climate reconstruction through the application of pollen-climate transfer functions to fossil pollen records and (3) the compilation of non-vegetation records which provide information on moisture change. Model simulations will be performed by (4) prescribing the Holocene land-surface reconstructions for Central Asia and (5) by inclusion of an interactive vegetation model. (6) Different vegetation initial conditions will be used to investigate possible long-term effects of land-use.


Analyses of pollen, chironomids and ostracods, pollen- and chironomid-temperature/precipitation transfer functions, quantitative palaeovegetation reconstruction (biomisation), equilibrium and dynamic vegetation modelling, coupled climate-vegetation modelling.

Lake sediments, pollen, chironomid and ostracod records, archaeological records.



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