Are pollen records form small sites appropriate for REVEALS model-based quantitative reconstructions of past regional vegetation ? An empirical test in southern Sweden

Abstract : In this paper we test the performance of the Regional Estimates of VEgetation Abundance from Large Sites (REVEALS) model using pollen records from multiple small sites. We use Holocene pollen records from large and small sites in southern Sweden to identify what is/are the most significant variable(s) affecting the REVEALS-based reconstructions, i.e. type of site (lakes and/or bogs), number of sites, site size, site location in relation to vegetation zones, and/or distance between small sites and large sites. To achieve this objective we grouped the small sites according to (i) the two major modern vegetation zones of the study region, and (ii) the distance between the small sites and large lakes, i.e. small sites within 50, 100, 150, or 200 km of the large lakes. The REVEALS-based reconstructions were performed using 24 pollen taxa. Redundancy analysis was performed on the results from all REVEALS-model runs using the groups within (i) and (ii) separately, and on the results from all runs using the groups within (ii) together. The explanatory power and significance of the variables were identified using forward selection and Monte Carlo permutation tests. The results show that (a) although theREVEALS model was designed for pollen data from large lakes, it also performs well with pollen data from multiple small sites in reconstructing the percentage cover of groups of plant taxa (e.g. open land taxa, summer-green trees, evergreen trees) or individual plant taxa; however, in the case of this study area, the reconstruction of the percentage cover of Calluna vulgaris, Cyperaceae, and Betula may be problematic when using small bogs; (b) standard errors of multiple small-site REVEALS estimates will generally be larger than those obtained using pollen records from large lakes, and they will decrease with increasing size of pollen counts and increasing number of small sites; (c) small lakes are better to use than small bogs if the total number of small sites is low; and (d) the size of small sites and the distance between them do not play a major role, but the distance between the small sites and landscape/vegetation boundaries is a determinant factor for the accuracy of the vegetation reconstructions
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Anna-Kari Trondman, Marie-José Gaillard, Shinya Sugita, L. Bjorkman, Annica Greisman, et al.. Are pollen records form small sites appropriate for REVEALS model-based quantitative reconstructions of past regional vegetation ? An empirical test in southern Sweden. Vegetation History and Archaeobotany, Springer Verlag, 2016, 25, pp.131-151. ⟨hal-01447623⟩

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