In an attempt to quantify Holocene anthropogenic land-cover change in temperate China, we 1) applied the REVEALS model to estimate plant-cover change using 94 pollen records and relative pollen productivity for 27 plant taxa, 2) reviewed earlier interpretation of pollen studies in terms of climate- and human-induced vegetation change, and 3) reviewed information on past land use from archaeological studies. REVEALS achieved a more realistic reconstruction of plant-cover change than pollen percentages in terms of openland versus woodland. The study suggests successive human-induced changes in vegetation cover. The first signs of human- induced land-cover change (crop cultivation, otherwise specified) are found c. 7 ka BP in the temperate deciduous forest, and S and NE Tibetan Plateau (mainly grazing, possibly crop cultivation), 6.5–6 ka BP in the temperate steppe and temperate desert (grazing, uncertain), and 5.5–5 ka BP in the coniferous-deciduous mixed forest, NE subtropical region, and NW Tibetan Plateau (grazing). Further intensification of anthropogenic land-cover change is indicated 5–4.5 ka BP in the E temperate steppe, and S and NE Tibetan Plateau (grazing, cultivation uncertain), 3.5–3 ka BP in S and NE Tibetan Plateau, W temperate steppe, temperate desert (grazing), and NW Tibetan Plateau (probably grazing), and 2.5–2 ka BP in the temperate deciduous forest, N subtropical region, and temperate desert (grazing). These changes generally agree with increased human activity as documented by archaeological studies. REVEALS reconstructions have a stronger potential than biomization to evaluate scenarios of anthropogenic land-cover change such as HYDE, given they are combined with information from archaeological studies.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work is supported by a doctoral student grant for FL from the China Scholarship Council [grant number 201206180028 ], funds from the Faculty of Health and Life Sciences of Linnaeus University , Kalmar Sweden ( https://lnu.se/en/meet-linnaeus-university/Organisation/faculty-ofhealth-and-life-sciencesnew-page/ ), and the Swedish Strategical Research Area ModElling the Regional and Global Ecosystem, MERGE ( http://www.merge.lu.se/ ). We also acknowledge the financial support from the National Natural Science Foundation of China ( NSFC ) (PI Qinghai Xu) [grant number, 41630753 ] and (PI Yan Zhao) [grant number, 41690113 ], and (PI Xiaozhong Huang) [grant number, 41991251 ] and the National Key Research and Development Program of China (PI Yan Zhao) [grant number, 2016YFA0600501 ], and the Swedish Foundation for International Cooperation in Research and Higher Education ( STINT ) and the NSFC [grant number, 41611130050 ] for a Sweden-China Exchange Grant 2016 − 2019 (PIs Marie-José Gaillard and Qinghai Xu). This study was undertaken as part of the Past Global Changes ( PAGES ) project and its working group LandCover6k, which in turn received support from the U.S. National Science Foundation and the Swiss Academy of Sciences .
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- Climate change
- Land-use history
- Pollen-vegetation modelling
- Relative pollen productivities
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