Lake Neor reveals how mountain vegetation responded to 7000 years of hydroclimate variability in northwestern Iran

Khadijeh Alinezhad, Elias Ramezani, Morteza Djamali, Arash Sharifi, Alireza Naqinezhad, Cyril Aubert, Emmanuel Gandouin, Ali Pourmand

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Palynological and geochemical analyses provide valuable information about modern and past climatic regimes and vegetation. The impact of climate and humans on past vegetation in the semi-arid areas of northwestern Iran has received increased interest in the wake of warming temperatures in the Middle East. Palynological and down-core XRF elemental abundances from a peat core from Lake Neor enabled a reconstruction of vegetational changes of the past 7000 years over the highlands of northwestern Iran. Periods of increased arboreal pollen (AP) types and high (Artemisia + Poaceae)/Chenopodiaceae ratios along with low titanium abundances, high percentages of total organic carbon, more negative δD values, and higher carbon accumulation rates suggest a relatively wet climate. These conditions have persisted during the periods 6700–6200, 5200–4450 and 3200–2200 cal a bp. The overall low AP values, substantial rise of Chenopodiaceae, high Ti abundances and low values of palaeo-redox proxies, are all evidences of a drier climate, as has been reconstructed for the periods 6200–5200 and 4030–3150 cal a bp and the last 2200 years. An important feature of the last centuries is the increase of anthropogenic and pastoral indicator pollen types. Our results may provide basic data to predict future trends in vegetation dynamics under future climate change in western Asia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)598-610
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Quaternary Science
Issue number4
StatePublished - May 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Holocene
  • Irano-Turanian vegetation
  • PCA
  • Peatland
  • climate change

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Palaeontology


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