Continuous aridification since the mid‐Holocene as the main cause of C3/C4 dynamics in the grasslands of northeastern China
- Journal Article
Ecological responses to past climate change as determined from palaeorecords offer insights into responses that may accompany future climate change. In arid and semi‐arid lands, the interactions between regional vegetation and climate change are not yet well understood, partly due to a lack of suitable palaeovegetation proxies that can provide accurate and continuous tracers for past vegetation dynamics. To gain a better understanding of long‐term vegetation dynamics, this study employs a multiproxy approach applied to sand‐palaeosol sediments of northeastern China's Songnen grasslands. Phytolith analyses and data on the stable carbon isotope composition (δ13C) of organic matter are used to reconstruct palaeovegetation composition, namely, the changing abundance of C3 and C4 species, whereas a geochemical weathering index (Fed/Fet ratios) tracks past East Asian summer monsoon (EASM) intensity. The phytolith assemblages and indices and δ13C of the soil indicate that C4 species' abundance has been increasing in the Songnen grasslands since the mid‐Holocene, although C3 vegetation is still dominant. Statistically significant negative correlations between the δ13C data and Fet/Fed ratios suggest that continuous weakening of the EASM since the mid‐Holocene may be responsible for the 13C‐enrichment of the sediments in the Songnen grasslands. Field vegetation surveys, modern topsoil phytoliths and δ13C calibration data indicate that the expansion of C4 species since the mid‐Holocene is mainly due to their ability to cope with aridity when growing season temperature is not undergoing a significant decrease. Future precipitation decreases in arid and semi‐arid lands should make C4 species more competitive in the grasslands of northeastern China. Show more
Journal / seriesEuropean Journal of Soil Science
Pages / Article No.
SubjectC3/C4 vegetation; East Asian summer monsoon; Grasslands; Mid-Holocene; Northeastern China; Phytolith
Organisational unit09596 - Dubois, Nathalie (ehemalig) / Dubois, Nathalie (former)
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