ISSN 1067-4136, Russian Journal of Ecology, 2016, Vol. 47, No. 4, pp. 329–337. © Pleiades Publishing, Ltd., 2016.
Original Russian Text © T.G. Antipina, N.K. Panova, 2016, published in Ekologiya, 2016, No. 4, pp. 251–258.
The Holocene Dynamics of Vegetation and Climatic Conditions
on the Eastern Slope of the Subpolar Urals
T. G. Antipina and N. K. Panova
Botanical Garden, Ural Branch, Russian Academy of Sciences, ul. Bilimbaevskaya 32a, Yekaterinburg, 620134 Russia
Received July 27, 2015
Abstract—Changes in the vegetation and climatic conditions on the eastern slope of the Subpolar Urals over
the past 10000 years have been reconstructed on the basis of integrated palynological, botanical, and radio-
carbon analysis of material from two sections of peat deposits in the floodplains of the Lyapin and Man’ya
rivers (the Severnaya Sos’va basin). The dynamics of regional vegetation have been traced: from the herb–
shrub tundra in the late postglacial time to the spruce–larch forest–tundra and sparse larch–birch–spruce
stands in the Early Holocene, to birch–pine–spruce forests with an admixture of fir in the Middle Holocene,
and to northern taiga forests with dominance of Scots pine and Siberian stone pine (similar to present-day
forests) in the Late Holocene. The results show that the northern taiga zone of the study region in the period
between approximately 5500 and 2500 years BP was occupied by forests of middle and southern taiga facies,
as the climate was significantly warmer than it is today.
Keywords: peat bog, spire–pollen spectrum, botanical composition of peat, radiocarbon dating, vegetation,
Analysis of the Holocene dynamics of vegetation
and natural environment provides a historical basis for
understanding the current structural–functional state
of plant ecosystems and predicting trends of their
development under conditions of global climate
change. Relevant studies in subarctic regions of north-
ern Eurasia can play a key role in providing an insight
into not only regional but also global natural pro-
cesses. It has been shown that the strongest increase in
both summer and winter temperatures during the
Holocene climatic optimum in the Northern Hemi-
sphere took place at high latitudes (60°–70° N), which
accounted for the rise of the general thermal level
(Grichuk, 1969; Khotinskii, Savina, 1985; Velichko,
1989, 1991; Velichko and Klimanov, 1990; etc.).
The Holocene history of vegetation in the northern
Ural and Transural regions is still poorly known. The
results of paleobotanical studies of peat deposits are
the main source of relevant information, but only one
such study performed in the Subpolar Urals has been
published to date, which deals with palynological
analysis of two buried peat deposits on the Man’ya
River (Fedotova, 1951). The author dates them to the
Holocene, although the absolute age of peat has not
been determined. Since these deposits are buried and
the peat contains up to 3% of pollen from broadleaf
tree species, it appears that they were formed during
the interglacial time.
In this paper, we present the results of integrated
studies on two sections of Holocene peat deposits in
the Subpolar Urals by methods of palynological,
botanical, and radiocarbon analysis.
STUDY REGION, OBJECTS, AND METHODS
The Subpolar Urals (64°–66° N, 58°–62° E) are
the widest and highest part of the Ural mountain
range, with some summits rising over 1800 m. a.s.l.
Four landscape zones are distinguished on their east-
ern slope on a structural-tectonic basis: the Lyapin
piedmont depression, Vostochnye Uvaly (eastern
piedmont hills), Srednegorye (mid-mountains), and
Vysokogorye (high mountains) (Lyubimova, 1955).
The climate of the Subpolar Urals is highly conti-
nental, with long, cold winters and short, cool summers.
The average January temperature varies from –19°С
to –24°С. Summers in the taiga zone of the Transural
region are moderately warm, the average temperature
of July is 15–16°С. The average amount of precipitation
is 450–500 mm, the frost-free period is 90–95 days
The study region is in the Lyapin depression, in the
northern taiga subzone. The main types of vegetation
are bog forests and forested upland bogs. The vegeta-
tion of flat interfluves is represented by typical West-
ern Siberian swamp-subor forests. The main forest-