Pollen and non-pollen palynomorph analyses of Upper Holocene sediments from Dianshan, Yangtze coastal lowlands, China: Hydrology, vegetation history and human activity

This study focuses on this late period, presenting the results of integrated sedimentary, microfossil and radiocarbon analyses from a core near the eastern margin of Lake Dianshan, to the east of Taihu

James B. Innes


Scholarcy highlights

  • The lower Yangtze River has been a highly important region in the initiation and development of Chinese agriculture, settlement, culture and society, with the highly fertile delta lowlands around Lake Taihu
  • The hard clay at the base of the profile, which could not be penetrated, is probably the pre-Holocene layer that occurs beneath Holocene deposits throughout the area to the east of Lake Taihu
  • The peat are decreasingly organic limnic deposits, capped by silt, the upper meter of which has been disturbed by human activity and represents recent ploughsoil
  • The radiocarbon dates from Dianshan make it clear that the site’s palaeonvironmental record represents a substantial part of the Upper Holocene
  • Comparison with other published diagrams from the Taihu area suggests that the base of the profile should be around 2500 years ago or a little earlier, based on regional vegetation and sea-level history
  • There is a range of disturbance and cultural indicator pollen and Non-pollen palynomorphs, that allows recognition of human activity, and agriculture is clear in the Dianshan record in Zone DS-c, when high frequencies of Poaceae greater than 40 μm, considered to represent Oryza pollen, occur for a period of about three hundred years
  • Yr BP is recorded at the site, and the presence of high pollen frequencies of Oryza-type and other cultivation indicators shows that this phase resulted from human activity and wet rice, flooded-field ‘paddy’ agriculture, and correlates mainly with the Tang Dynasty period

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