Acta Geographica Sinica ›› 2008, Vol. 63 ›› Issue (3): 280-292.doi: 10.11821/xb200803006

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Vegetation and Climate Changes in the Western Part of the Loess Plateau since 13 ka BP

SUN Aizhi1,2, FENG Zhaodong2, TANG Lingyu3, MA Yuzhen4   

  1. 1. School of Geography Science, Southwest University, Chongqing 400715, China;
    2. MOE Key Laboratory of Western China's Environmental Systems, Lanzhou University, Lanzhou 730000, China;
    3. Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology, CAS, Nanjing, 210008, China;
    4. College of Resources Science and Technology, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China
  • Received:2007-10-20 Revised:2007-11-27 Online:2008-03-25 Published:2008-03-25
  • Supported by:

    National Science Fund for Distinguished Young Scholars, 40025105; National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.40331012; NSF Project, No.EAR 0402509; No.BCS 00-78557; Sci-tech Fund from Southwest University, No.104220-20710904


Sporo-pollen records from the western part of Chinese Loess Plateau revealed a detailed history of vegetation variation and associated climate changes since 13 ka BP. Before 12.1 ka BP, steppe or desert-steppe vegetation dominated landscape, which was then replaced by a coniferous forest under a generally wet climate (12.1-11.0 ka BP). The vegetation was degenerated into steppe landscape and further into a desert-steppe landscape from 11.0 to 9.8 ka BP. After a brief episode of a cool and wet climate (9.8-9.6 ka BP), a relatively mild and dry condition prevailed during the early Holocene (9.6-7.6 ka BP). The most favourable climate of warm and humid period occurred during mid-Holocene (7.6-4.0 ka BP) marked by forest-steppe landscape, and an alternation of steppe and desert-steppe has occurred since ~4.0 ka BP.

Key words: Loess Plateau, arid and semi-arid region, sporo-pollen assemblage, climate change