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Studies on the vegetation history of the coastal area of istria yugoslavia

Studies on the vegetation history of the coastal area of istria yugoslavia

Flora (Jena) 166(4): 357-381

Sediments of the brackish water containing Lake Palu, situated in a sink hole near the coast of the Adriatic Sea and about 10 km south of Rovinj (Istria, Yugoslavia) were studied for pollen and macrofossils. The pollen diagram can be divided into 5 pollen zones. The 1st pollen zone [dominated by Quercus ilex and abelt of evergreen trees] starts with the lowermost pollen-containing sediments dating back to the 5th millenium BP and ends with the beginning of Roman times in lstria. The first definite hints for human activities, which caused cchanges in the vegetation, are due to the beginning of Roman colonization in lstria during the 1st 2 centuries BC (beginning of zone 2). One can successfully use the beginning of the curves of Juglans and Castanea for dating. With the beginning of zone 3, an increase of the amount of plants indicating farming activity and an increase of the percentages of Mediterranean evergreen woody plants, mainly Phillyrea, indicate the development of the Roman colonies in Istria. From the end of Roman times in Istria to early Middle Ages, the indicators in the pollen diagram for human activity remain without changes. Most probably during late Middle Ages, e.g., under Venetian government there was a strong development of juniper heaths, which were due to increased forest clearance and grazing (zone 4). In zone 5, juniper heaths, which were due to increased forest clearance and grazing (zone 4). In zone 5, juniper heaths were replaced to a certain degree by a Phillyrea maquis. Today, the maquis belt near the coast is about 200 m wide. The fossil record of aquatic plants clearly shows that till the end of zone 2, Palu was a freshwater lake. Afterwards water from the Adriatic Sea came in through gaps in the limestone rocks and, subsequently, freshwater plants like Nymphaea, Myriophyllum and Ceratophyllum were abruptly replaced by Ruppia and other water plants, indicating a brackish environment. In addition, 3 profiles with marine sediments wre studied with the aim to find out the differences between marine and non-marine pollen sequences of nearby situated localities. The oldest sediments so far cored at the shelf bottom off Porec are to be dated to Boreal or early Atlantic times. The uppermost sediments which are covered only by a thin shill lager, were dated by radiocarbon to 6640 .+-. 120 BP. Therefore, sedimentation must have ended here about 6000 yr ago. From the northernmost part of the Adriatic Sea, 2 samples were studied consisting of a peaty material overlain by a thin layer of sand which forms the surface of the bottom. The pollen content of both samples indicates a Pleistocene age. Pollen grains of Menyanthes and freshwater plants indicate that this area was situated outside the northern border of the Adriatic Sea when the peaty material was formed.

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