Lateglacial and Holocene vegetation belts in the Pirin Mountains (southwestern Bulgaria)

Ivanka Stefanova, Brigitta Ammann

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

53 Scopus citations


Pollen stratigraphy of a core 270 cm long from Lake Dalgoto at 2310 m in the Northern Pirin Mountains, southern Bulgaria, was treated by optimal partitioning and compared to a broken-stick model to reveal statistically significant pollen zones. The vegetational reconstructions presented here are based on pollen percentages and pollen influx, on comparisons of modern and fossil pollen spectra, and on macrofossil dates from other sites in the mountains. During the Younger Dryas (11000-10200 14C yr BP), an open xerophytic herb vegetation with Artemisia and Chenopodiaceae was widely developed around the lake. Deciduous trees growing at lower elevations contributed to the pollen rain deposited at the higher-elevation sampling sites. Specifically, from 10200 to 8500 yr BP, Quercus, Ulmus, Tilia and Betula expanded rapidly at low and intermediate elevations, and between 8500 and 6500 yr BP they extended to higher elevations close to the upper forest limit, which was formed by Betula pendula at about 1900 m. Coniferous species were limited in the region at this time. After 6500 yr BP, the expansion of conifers (Pinus peuce, P. sylvestris, P. mugo, Abies alba) at high elevations forced the deciduous trees downward. Between 6500 and 3000 yr BP, the forest limit at 2200 m was formed by P. peuce, and A. alba had its maximum vertical range up to 1900 m. Later the abundance and vertical range of P. peuce and A. alba were reduced. After 3000 yr BP, Picea expanded.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)97-107
Number of pages11
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2003

Bibliographical note

Copyright 2008 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


  • Altitudinal vegetation belts
  • Bulgaria
  • Climatic change
  • Holocene
  • Late Quaternary
  • Pirin Mountains
  • Vegetation history
  • Younger Dryas

Continental Scientific Drilling Facility tags

  • VBL


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