Journal of Geographical Sciences ›› 2010, Vol. 20 ›› Issue (2): 177-192.doi: 10.1007/s11442-010-0177-y

• Vegetation Change • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Vegetation and environmental changes in western Chinese Loess Plateau since 13.0 ka BP

SUN Aizhi1, FENG Zhaodong2,3, MA Yuzhen4   

  1. 1. School of Geography Science, Southwest University, Chongqing 400715, China;
    2. MOE Key Laboratory of Western China’s Environmental Systems, College of Earth &|Environment Sciences, Lanzhou University, Lanzhou 730000, China;
    3. Department of Geology, Baylor University, Waco, TX76795, USA;
    4. College of Resources Science and Technology Research, Beijing Normal University, Beijing 100875, China
  • Received:2009-04-22 Revised:2009-08-25 Online:2010-04-15 Published:2010-04-15
  • About author:Sun Aizhi (1979-), Ph.D and Associate Professor, specialized in pollen and environmental changes in Quaternary. E-mail:
  • 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; Doctoral Fund from Southwest University, No.104220-20710904; CSTC, No.2009BB7112


Pollen records from the Chinese Loess Plateau revealed a detailed history of vegetation variation and associated climate changes during the last 13.0 ka BP. Before 12.1 ka BP, steppe or desert-steppe vegetation dominated landscape then was replaced by a coniferous forest under a generally wet climate (12.1–11.0 ka BP). The vegetation was deteriorated into steppe landscape and further into a desert-steppe landscape between 11.0 and 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 vegetation alternatively changed between steppe and desert- steppe from ~4.0 to ~1.0 ka BP.

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