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Episodes 2021; 44(3): 249-257

Published online September 1, 2021

https://doi.org/10.18814/epiiugs/2020/020085

Copyright © International Union of Geological Sciences.

Late Pleistocene-Holocene vegetation and climate change in Ebinur Betula wetland, Xinjiang, NW China

by Li Wang1,2, Yun Zhang1*, and Zhaochen Kong1

1State Key Laboratory of Vegetation and Environmental Change, Institute of Botany, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing 100093, China
2School of Geography and Sustainable Development, University of St Andrews, Scotland KY16 9AL, UK

Correspondence to:*E-mail: zhangygl@ibcas.ac.cn

Received: April 22, 2020; Revised: September 12, 2020; Accepted: September 12, 2020

This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0) which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Abstract

Late Pleistocene-Holocene has been regarded as one of the most important periods in the history of climate change. The specific objectives of this study were to restore vegetation change and climatic evolution in the Ebinur Betula wetland of Xinjiang in China over the past 16,000 years based on 15 surface and 70 fossil pollen data. Research results revealed that a relatively humid climate existed from 12,230 to 9,260 cal. aBP, followed by a reducing humidity period between 9,260 cal. aBP and 3,303 cal. aBP. After 3,303 cal. aBP, the aridity increased further, especially in the last 600 years. Additionally, three high peaks of the Betula pollen in this wetland occurred at the end of the Last Glacial Maximum, at the beginning of early Holocene and during the Medieval Warm Period, all of which pointed to the amelioration of climatic conditions. However, the percentage of Betula has also been on a declining trend in the past 600 years, indicating a drying climate and intensified human activities. Therefore, these findings are conducive to exploring the impacts on wetland vegetation caused by climate change and anthropogenic disturbance in different periods, and providing the reference frame for wetland restoration and ecological construction in China.