Palaeoclimate and vegetation - long-term vegetation dynamics in central Europe with particular reference to beech
Research into palaeoecological events from the late Quaternary onwards up to the last deglaciation has progressed significantly in Europe in the last decades. Multidisciplinary stratigraphical studies of lake and mire deposits, using a variety of dating techniques (AMS 14C-dating, ratio of 18O/16O), carried out a synthesis of the natural and anthropogenic vegetation development dealing with both biotic and physical environmental changes. Compiled regional syntheses are based on approximately nearly 100 key sites, covering around all biogeographical important areas of central and southern Europe. On the background of the European pollen database (EPD) now it is possible to understand patterns of the past, such as tree migrations, timberline-changes, species competition, palaeofloristic changes, etc. In the present paper the main results related to vegetation events and climatic changes in relation to long-term vegetation dynamics are described. The basic data generated by pollen analysts in Europe provide a tool for our understanding of past environmental history such as forest response to Pleistocene climatic change, evolution of new species as well as the establishment of natural deciduous forestry and especially of beech forests in Europe.