Elena Yu. Novenko, Dr. Sci, Leading Researcher, Lomonosov Moscow State University; 119991, Russian Federation, Moscow, Leninskie Gory, 1; e-mail: .
Natalya G. Mazei, PhD, Senior Researcher, Lomonosov Moscow State University; 119991, Russian Federation, Moscow, Leninskie Gory, 1; e-mail:
Valentina P. Zernitskaya, PhD, Leading Researcher, Institute for Nature Management, National Academy of Sciences of Belarus; 220114, Republic of Belarus, Minsk, F. Skoriny Str., 10; e-mail:

Reference to article

Novenko E.Yu., Mazei N.G., Zernitskaya V.P. 2017. Recent pollen assemblages from Protected Areas of European Russia as a key to interpreting the results of paleoecological studies. Nature Conservation Research 2(2): 55–65. DOI: 10.24189/ncr.2017.012

Section Resarch articles

The paper presents the results of studies of 59 recent pollen assemblages from protected areas located in the forest and steppe zones of the East European plain. The obtained data show that in pollen assemblages from forest localities a great share of the regional component of spectra is represented by plants with a high productivity of pollen. This pollen gets dispersed by wind over long distances (e.g., Betula, Alnus, Pinus). As a result the ratio of the main components in pollen assemblages from forest localities is distorted. At the same time, the participation of spruce pollen and pollen of deciduous tree species in the spectra is lower than the share of these species in the surrounding forest. Besides, the proportion of the regional pollen component in assemblages is much higher in samples taken from treeless areas and in floodplains than in probes taken under the forest canopy. These patterns should be taken into account in the reconstruction of the ancient vegetation using palynological data. The specific features of pollen assemblages that should be considered by interpreting fossil pollen spectra include: the share of broad-leaved tree pollen, proportion and floristic composition of herbaceous pollen group, occurrence of forest Lycopodium species, share of fern spores and spores of Sphagnum mosses. Different types of forest-steppe plant communities could be determined by the composition and ratio within the pollen group of herbaceous plants.


East European Plain, forest zone, forest-steppe zone, pollen analysis, recent pollen assemblages

Artice information

Received: 25.01.2017

The full text of the article

Andersen S.T. 1970. The relative pollen productivity and pollen representation of north European trees, and correction factors for tree pollen spectra. Danmarks geologiske Undersøgelse. Series II 96: 1–99.
Bennett K.D., Hicks S. 2005. Numerical analysis of surface and fossil pollen spectra from northern Fennoscandia. Journal of Biogeography 32: 407–423.
Bjune A.E., Bakke J., Nesje A., Birks H.J.B. 2005. Holocene mean July temperature and winter precipitation in western Norway inferred from palynological and glaciological lake-sediment proxies. Holocene 15(2): 177–189.
Bradshaw R.H.W., Webb T. 1985. Relationships between contemporary pollen and vegetation data from Wisconsin and Michigan, USA. Ecology 66: 721–737.
Broström A., Sugita S., Gaillard M.-J. 2005. Estimating the spatial scale of pollen dispersal in the cultural landscape of southern Sweden. Holocene 15: 252–262.
Davis M.B. 1963. On the theory of pollen analysis. American Journal of Science 261: 897–912.
Fedorova R.V. 1952. Numerical peculiarities of wind transport of arboreal pollen. Proceedings of Institute of Geography USSR 52: 91–103. [In Russian]
Field Geobotany. Vol. 5. Leningrad: Nauka, 1976. 320 p. [In Russian]
Filimonova L.V. 1999. Surface and subsurface pollen spectra from middle taiga vegetation zone of Karelia. In: Actual problems of palynology at boundary of the third millennium: рroceedings of the IX Russian palynological conference. Moscow: Publisher of the Institute of Geology and Development of Combustible Fossils. Р. 311–313. [In Russian]
Gaillard M.-J., Sugita S., Bunting J., Dearing J., Bittmann F. 2008. Human impact on terrestrial ecosystems, pollen calibration and quantitative reconstruction of past land-cover. Vegetation History and Archaeobotany 17: 415–418.
Giesecke T. 2005. Holocene forest development in the central Scandes Mountains, Sweden. Vegetation History and Archaeobotany 14: 133–147.
Gribova S.A., Isachenko T.I., Lavrenko E.M. 1980. Vegetation of European part of USSA. Leningrad: Nauka. 236 p. [In Russian]
Grichuk V.P. 1941. The experiences of characteristics of pollen composition in modern sediments from different vegetation zones of European part of USSR. Problems of Physical Geography 11: 101–129. [In Russian]
Grichuk V.P., Zaklinskaya E.D. 1948. An analysis of fossil pollen and spores and its application for paleogeography. Moscow: Geografgiz. 224 p. [In Russian]
Grimm E.C. 1990. TILIA and TILIA GRAPH.PC spreadsheet and graphics software for pollen data. INQUA. Working Group on Data-Handling Methods. Newsletter 4: 5–7.
Hicks S. 1992. Modern pollen deposition and its use in interpreting the occupation history of the island Hailuoto, Finland. Vegetation History and Archaeobotany 1: 75–86.
Hicks S. 2001. The use of annual arboreal pollen deposition values for delimiting tree-lines in the landscape and exploring models of pollen dispersal. Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology 117: 1–29.
Kabailene M.V. 1969. Forming of pollen spectra and methods of reconstruction of paleontological vegetation. Proceedings of the Institute of Geology (Vilnius) 11: 70–147. [In Russian]
Korotkij A.M. 1977. Geographical aspects of forming of subfossil pollen and spore complexes (south of Far East). Vladivostok: Dal'nauka. 271 p. [In Russian]
Lapteva E.G. 2013. Subfossil pollen spectra of modern Vegetation in southern Ural Mountains. Bulletin of Bashkiria University 18(1): 77–81. [In Russian]
Latalowa M. 1982. Postglacial vegetational changes in the eastern Baltic coastal zone of Poland. Acta Palaeobotanica 22(2): 179–249.
Lisitsyna O.V., Giesecke T., Hicks S. 2011. Exploring pollen percentage threshold values as an indication for the regional presence of major European trees. Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology 166: 311–324.
Malygina Е.А. 1950. An experiences of comparison between pollen dispersal of some tree species with their ranges within European part of USSR. Proceedings of the Institute of Geography USSR 46(3): 256–270. [In Russian]
Mokhova L., Tarasov P., Bazarova V., Klimin M. 2009. Quantitative biome reconstruction using modern and late Quaternary pollen data from the southern part of the Russian Far East. Quaternary Science Reviews 28: 2913–2926.
Moore P.D., Webb J.A., Collinson M.E. 1991. Pollen Analysis. Oxford; Boston: Blackwell Scientific Publications. 216 p.
Nikolaev V.A. 2013. Paragenesis of polesie and opolie in Central Russia. Bulletin of Moscow University. Series 5. Geography 5: 45–50. [In Russian]
Nosova M.B., Severova E.E., Volkova O.V., Kosenko J.V. 2015. Representation of Picea pollen in modern and surface samples from Central European Russia. Vegetation History and Archaeobotany 24(2): 319–330.
Novenko E.Yu., Nosova M.B., Krasnorutskaya K.V. 2011. Specific feature of pollen spectra from south taiga of the East European Plain. Bulletin of Tula State University 2: 345–354. [In Russian]
Ryabogina N.E., Yаkimov A.S. 2010. Palynological and paleosoil studies on archeological sites: analysis of possibilities and methods. Bulletin of Archeology, Anthropology and Ethnography 2: 186–200. [In Russian]
Seppä H., Birks H.J.B., Odland A., Poska A., Veski S. 2004. A modern pollen-climate calibration set from northern Europe: developing and testing a tool for palaeoclimatological reconstructions. Journal of Biogeography 31: 251–267.
Sugita S., Gaillard M.J., Broström A. 1999. Landscape openness and pollen records: a simulation approach. Holocene 9: 409–421.
Sugita S. 2007. Theory of quantitative reconstruction of vegetation. I: pollen from large sites REVEALS regional vegetation composition. Holocene 17: 229–241.
Tarasov P., Williams J.W., Andreev A., Nakagawa T., Bezrukova E., Herzschuh U., Igarashi Y., Müller S., Werner K., Zheng Z. 2007. Satellite- and pollen-based quantitative woody cover reconstructions for northern Asia: Verification and application to late-Quaternary pollen data. Earth and Planetary Science Letters 264(1): 284–298.
Zaklinskaya E.D. 1951. Materials for studies of modern vegetation and its pollen spectra for porpoise of Quaternary biostratigraphy. Proceedings of the Institute of Geography AS USSR 127(48): 1–99. [In Russian]
Zelikson E.M. 1977. On paleogeographical interpretation of pollen spectra with high content of Corylus pollen. Proceedings of Academy of Sciences USSR. Series Geography 2: 102–112. [In Russian]