The Last Hundred Years of Land Use History in the Southern Part of Valdai Hills (European Russia): Reconstruction by Pollen and Historical Data

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The last one hundred years of land use history in the southern part of Valdai Hills (European Russia) were reconstructed on the base of high resolution pollen data from the peat monolith taken from the Central Forest State Reserve supplementing with historical records derived from maps of the General Land Survey of the 18th and 19th centuries and satellite images. According to the created age model provided by dating using radio-nuclides 210Pb and 137Cs, pollen data of the peat monolith allow us to reconstruct vegetation dynamics during the last one hundred years with high time resolution. The obtained data showed that, despite the location of the studied peatland in the center of the forest area and rather far away from possible croplands and hayfields, the pollen values of plants – anthropogenic indicators (Secale sereale, Centaurea cyanus, Plantago, Rumex, etc.) and micro-charcoal concentration are relatively high in the period since the beginning of the 20th century to the 1970s, especially in the peat horizon formed in the 1950s. In the late 1970s – the early 1980s when the pollen values of cereals gradually diminished in assemblages, the quantity of pollen of other anthropogenic indicators were also significantly reduced, which reflects the overall processes of the agriculture decline in the forest zone of the former USSR.

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