Late Quaternary vegetation history of northern Turkey


  • S. Bottema
  • H. Woldring
  • B. Aytuğ


The reconstruction of vegetation and climate for the Late Glacial and Holocene period of northern Turkey is discussed in the light of the palynological examination of surface samples and sediment cores. Aspects of geology, geography, climate and present or natural vegetation are discussed in sections 3, 4 and 5.

The modern pollen precipitation of the area is treated on the basis of 40 surface samples from natural as well as from severely degraded vegetations. An attempt has been made to explain the share of some types, including JuglansPistaciaPinusJuniperus and Plantago lanceolata in the modern pollen precipitation.

Table 5 represents the time covered by the sediments sampled for this study, which originate from Abant, Yeniçağa, Melen, Küçük Akgöl (Sakarya), Adatepe (Sakarya), Seyfe, Tuzla, Demiryurt (Hafik), Büyük Gölü (Hafik), Kaz, Lâdik and Tatlı. The diagrams of Abant, Yeniçağa and Lâdik Gölü indicate that cold and dry conditions prevailed in the period from 14,000 to 10,000 BP. Artemisia and other steppic plants were dominant and a small number of trees occurred on edaphically favourable spots. The Late Glacial and its sub-phases resemble those of Europe.

At the beginning of the Post glacial, forest immediately conquered the mountain ranges of northern Turkey. In the higher zone a pioneer forest of birch and maple appeared at first, to be followed by deciduous oak, hornbeam, hazeland (Nordmann) fir. Somewhat later, beech started to spread over the mountains, especially in the eastern parts (Lâdik). After 7000 BP an increase in pine is deduced from the high pollen values of this taxon.

The climatic developments of this part of Turkey more closely resemble those of Europe than those of southern Turkey. Seven diagrams inform us about the impact of man during the 2nd millennium BC. The evidence tallies well with the so-called Beyşehir Occupation phase of south western Turkey.

The pollen evidence pointing to human interference with the vegetation, at the altitude of for instance Abant Gölü, must be ascribed to long-distance transport, because several of the pollen producers (Olea) cannot have grown at 1300 m. The influence of prehistoric man upon the vegetation in northern Turkey is treated also in the final section.