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Retracted: What caused the mid-Holocene forest decline on the eastern Tibet-Qinghai Plateau?

  • Aim: Atmospheric CO2 concentrations depend, in part, on the amount of biomass locked up in terrestrial vegetation. Information on the causes of a broad-scale vegetation transition and associated loss of biomass is thus of critical interest for understanding global palaeoclimatic changes. Pollen records from the north-eastern Tibet-Qinghai Plateau reveal a dramatic and extensive forest decline beginning c. 6000 cal. yr bp. The aim of this study is to elucidate the causes of this regional-scale change from high-biomass forest to low-biomass steppe on the Tibet-Qinghai Plateau during the second half of the Holocene. Location: Our study focuses on the north-eastern Tibet-Qinghai Plateau. Stratigraphical data used are from Qinghai Lake (3200 m a.s.l., 36 degrees 32'-37 degrees 15' N, 99 degrees 36'-100 degrees 47' E). Methods: We apply a modern pollen-precipitation transfer function from the eastern and north-eastern Tibet-Qinghai Plateau to fossil pollen spectra from Qinghai Lake to reconstruct annual precipitation changes during theAim: Atmospheric CO2 concentrations depend, in part, on the amount of biomass locked up in terrestrial vegetation. Information on the causes of a broad-scale vegetation transition and associated loss of biomass is thus of critical interest for understanding global palaeoclimatic changes. Pollen records from the north-eastern Tibet-Qinghai Plateau reveal a dramatic and extensive forest decline beginning c. 6000 cal. yr bp. The aim of this study is to elucidate the causes of this regional-scale change from high-biomass forest to low-biomass steppe on the Tibet-Qinghai Plateau during the second half of the Holocene. Location: Our study focuses on the north-eastern Tibet-Qinghai Plateau. Stratigraphical data used are from Qinghai Lake (3200 m a.s.l., 36 degrees 32'-37 degrees 15' N, 99 degrees 36'-100 degrees 47' E). Methods: We apply a modern pollen-precipitation transfer function from the eastern and north-eastern Tibet-Qinghai Plateau to fossil pollen spectra from Qinghai Lake to reconstruct annual precipitation changes during the Holocene. The reconstructions are compared to a stable oxygen-isotope record from the same sediment core and to results from two transient climate model simulations. Results: The pollen-based precipitation reconstruction covering the Holocene parallels moisture changes inferred from the stable oxygen-isotope record. Furthermore, these results are in close agreement with simulated model-based past annual precipitation changes. Main conclusions: In the light of these data and the model results, we conclude that it is not necessary to attribute the broad-scale forest decline to human activity. Climate change as a result of changes in the intensity of the East Asian Summer Monsoon in the mid-Holocene is the most parsimonious explanation for the widespread forest decline on the Tibet-Qinghai Plateau. Moreover, climate feedback from a reduced forest cover accentuates increasingly drier conditions in the area, indicating complex vegetation-climate interactions during this major ecological change.show moreshow less

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Metadaten
Author:Ulrike HerzschuhORCiDGND, H. John B. Birks, Xingqi Liu, Claudia Kubatzki, Gerrit Lohmann
URL:http://www3.interscience.wiley.com/cgi-bin/issn?DESCRIPTOR=PRINTISSN&VALUE=1466-822X
DOI:https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1466-8238.2009.00501.x
ISSN:1466-822X
Document Type:Article
Language:English
Year of first Publication:2010
Year of Completion:2010
Release Date:2017/03/25
Source:Global ecology and biogeography. - ISSN 1466-822X. - 19 (2010), 2, S. 278 - 286
Organizational units:Mathematisch-Naturwissenschaftliche Fakultät / Institut für Erd- und Umweltwissenschaften
Peer Review:Referiert