Pollen-based reconstructions of Japanese biomes at 0,6000 and 18,000 14C yr BP

Hikaru Takahara*, Shinya Sugita, Sandy P. Harrison, Norio Miyoshi, Yoshimune Morita, Takashi Uchiyama

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    92 Citations (Scopus)


    A biomization method, which objectively assigns individual pollen assemblages to biomes (Prentice et al., 1996), was tested using modern pollen data from Japan and applied to fossil pollen data to reconstruct palaeovegetation patterns 6000 and 18,000 14C yr BP Biomization started with the assignment of 135 pollen taxa to plant functional types (PFTs), and nine possible biomes were defined by specific combinations of PFTs. Biomes were correctly assigned to 54% of the 94 modern sites. Incorrect assignments occur near the altitudinal limits of individual biomes, where pollen transport from lower altitudes blurs the local pollen signals or continuous changes in species composition characterizes the range limits of biomes. As a result, the reconstructed changes in the altitudinal limits of biomes at 6000 and 18,000 14C yr BP are likely to be conservative estimates of the actual changes. The biome distribution at 6000 14C yr BP was rather similar to today, suggesting that changes in the bioclimate of Japan have been small since the mid-Holocene. At 18,000 14C yr BP the Japanese lowlands were covered by taiga and cool mixed forests. The southward expansion of these forests and the absence of broadleaved evergreen/warm mixed forests reflect a pronounced year-round cooling.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)665-683
    Number of pages19
    JournalJournal of Biogeography
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 2000


    • Biomes
    • Japan
    • Last glacial maximum
    • Mid-Holocene
    • Plant functional types
    • Pollen data
    • Vegetation changes


    Dive into the research topics of 'Pollen-based reconstructions of Japanese biomes at 0,6000 and 18,000 14C yr BP'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this