Towards mapping the late Quaternary vegetation change of Europe

Thomas Giesecke, Basil Davis, Simon Brewer, Walter Finsinger, Steffen Wolters, Maarten Blaauw, Jacques-Louis de Beaulieu, Heather Binney, Ralph M. Fyfe, Marie Jose Gaillard, Graciela Gil-Romera, W.O. van der Knaap, Petr Kuneš, Norbert Kühl, Jacqueline F. N. van Leeuwen, Michelle Leydet, Andre Lotter, Elena Ortu, Malte Semmler, Richard H.W. Bradshaw

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

105 Citations (Scopus)


The number of well-dated pollen diagrams in Europe has increased considerably over the last 30 years and many of them have been submitted to the European Pollen Database (EPD). This allows for the construction of increasingly precise maps of Holocene vegetation change across the continent. Chronological information in the EPD has been expressed in uncalibrated radiocarbon years, and most chronologies to date are based on this time scale. Here we present new chronologies for most of the datasets stored in the EPD based on calibrated radiocarbon years. Age information associated with pollen diagrams is often derived from the pollen stratigraphy itself or from other sedimentological information. We reviewed these chronological tie points and assigned uncertainties to them. The steps taken to generate the new chronologies are described and the rationale for a new classification system for age uncertainties is introduced. The resulting chronologies are fit for most continental-scale questions. They may not provide the best age model for particular sites, but may be viewed as general purpose chronologies. Taxonomic particularities of the data stored in the EPD are explained. An example is given of how the database can be queried to select samples with appropriate age control as well as the suitable taxonomic level to answer a specific research question.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-12
JournalVegetation History and Archaeobotany
Issue number1
Early online date01 Apr 2013
Publication statusPublished - 01 Jan 2014

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Copyright 2013 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.


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