Research Articles

Relationship between surface pollen assemblages and vegetation in Luonan Basin, Eastern Qinling Mountains, Central China

  • 1. School of Geographic and Oceanographic Sciences, Nanjing University, Jiangsu Collaborative Innovation Center for Climate Change, Nanjing 210093, China;
    2. State Key Laboratory of Lake Science and Environment, Nanjing Institute of Geography and Limnology, CAS, Nanjing 210008, China;
    3. College of Life Sciences, Shaanxi Normal University, Xi'an 710062, China;
    4. Nanjing Institute of Geology and Paleontology, CAS, Nanjing 210008, China

Received date: 2013-10-31

  Revised date: 2013-11-22

  Online published: 2014-03-28

Supported by

National Natural Science Foundation of China, No.41072122, No.40930103, No.41321062; The “Strategic Priority Research Program” of CAS, No.XDA05120704, No.XDA05130201


The catchment of South Luohe River in Central China is an important region for investigating modern pollen-environment relationship, because it is located in the transitional zone between south and north China, an environment which is sensitive to climate changes. In this study, 40 surface samples under ten vegetation types were collected to reveal the relationship between pollen assemblages and vegetation. The results show that the surface pollen assemblages reflect the vegetation quite well. In forest topsoils, the average of arboreal pollen content is greater than 40%, and the Selaginella sinensis spore is high. As to sparse forest grassland and shrub community, the average arboreal pollen is 13.2% and 16.6% respectively, and the shrub pollen is relatively higher than that of grassland samples. The grassland and farmland are characterized by low percentage of tree and shrub pollen (<10% and <1%), and high percentage of herbs (>80%). Pinus, Quercus and some other arboreal pollen can indicate the regional vegetation because of their dispersal ability. Quercus pollen is under-representative and so is Pinus. Artemisia pollen is significantly over-represented, has poor correlation with the plant coverage, and may reflect human disturbance. Gramineae can indicate plant quite well, but with low representation. High content of Chenopodiaceae probably suggests human impact. Predominant Selaginella sinensis can be used as an indicator of forest environment. Cluster analysis and principal components analysis of pollen assemblages can distinguish forest and non-forest vegetation well. The former method is better at separating pine and mixed forests, while the latter is more stable and could better differentiate farmland and other non-forest area. The first axis of PCA mainly reflects the humidity.

Cite this article

ZHANG Wenchao, LI Chunhai, LU Huayu, TIAN Xianhua, ZHANG Hongyan, LEI Fang, TANG Lingyu . Relationship between surface pollen assemblages and vegetation in Luonan Basin, Eastern Qinling Mountains, Central China[J]. Journal of Geographical Sciences, 2014 , 24(3) : 427 -445 . DOI: 10.1007/s11442-014-1098-y


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