Persistence of tree relicts in the Spanish Central System through the Holocene

Daniel Abel Schaad, Fernando Pulido, José Antonio López Sáez, Francisca Alba Sánchez, Diego Nieto Lugilde, Fátima Franco Múgica, Sebastián Pérez Díaz, M. Blanca Ruiz Zapata, M. José Gil García, Miriam Dorado Valiño


Persistence of relict tree species in Mediterranean environments is becoming increasingly unlikely in view of ongoing and future global change. The variability in the Holocene climate and more recent anthropogenic impacts have driven many populations to fragmentation and isolation, and even to extinction. However, some have persisted to the present day. The understanding of their evolution requires long-term studies, in which pollen analysis is a key approach both for formulating hypotheses and supporting results from other disciplines. Mountain ranges have played and still play an essential role as both glacial and interglacial refugia during the Quaternary. The Spanish Central System harbors an exceptional diversity due to its geographical location and complex topography. Some cold-adapted species have survived here with significant proportions of their southernmost populations, often displaying striking adaptations to their changing environments. This work contains a comprehensive review of the palynological investigations conducted in the Spanish Central System, and reveals the distribution of genera such as Taxus, Betula, Fagus, Carpinus and Tilia throughout the Holocene. We also highlight the scarcity of well-dated and high-resolution works, which may contribute to a better understanding of their recent and future evolution.


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ISSN 0210-9778
ISSN-e 1988-3307

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