A palynological study was performed on a 2 m thick sediment sequence recovered from Mire Kupena (1356 m), a former lake in the Western Rhodopes Mountains (south Bulgaria) and supported by radiocarbon dating. The record extends back to ca. 30,000 cal. yrs. BP (Middle Pleniglacial) when the study area was occupied by wooded steppe composed of Pinus sp., Pinus peuce, some Betula,Juniperus, and cold-tolerant herb vegetation dominated by Artemisia and Chenopodiaceae. In addition, the almost continuous presence of deciduous Quercus, Tilia, Corylus, Abies, Picea, Fagus, Alnus, and Carpinus betulus pollen suggests interstadial conditions and this area could be recognized as a montane refugial place. A reconstruction of the interval between ca. 24,000 and 15,000 cal. yrs. BP was not possible due to an extremely low sediment accumulation rates or, more likely, a hiatus. The lateglacial landscape was dominated by mountain-herb steppe vegetation with isolated stands of Pinus, Betula and shrubland of Juniperus. The afforestation in the Early Holocene started with broad-leaved forests composed of Quercus with C betulus, Carpinus orientalis/Ostrya, Ulmus, Tilia and Corylus and minor amounts of Pinus, Betula and Abies. In the Late Holocene (< ca. 4700 cal. yrs. BP) Fagus began to gain importance chiefly at the expense of the mixed oak forests, while after ca. 2000 cal. yrs. BP forests of Pinus sylyestris with some P. peuce quickly expanded around the mire. A comparison with other long palynological records from the mountains and lowlands of Bulgaria and in northern Greece reveals not only common trends in the vegetation development that are a reflection of the climate changes, but also site-specific features related to the location and topography of each site.
2014. Vol. 209, 41-51 p.
Pollen analysis, Vegetation history, Middle Pleniglacial, Interstadial, Mire Kupena, Rhodopes Mountains