EGU General Assembly 2020
© Author(s) 2020. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Impact of climate change on steppe environments around Lake Sevan in Armenia during the Holocene

Mary Robles1,2, Odile Peyron1, Guillemette Ménot3, Elisabetta Brugiapaglia2, Vincent Ollivier4, Petros Tozalakyan5, Khachatur Meliksetian5, Lilit Sahakyan5, and Sébastien Joannin1,6
Mary Robles et al.
  • 1ISEM, CNRS UMR 5554, University of Montpellier, Montpellier, France
  • 2Department Agriculture, Environment and Alimentation, University of Molise, Campobasso, Italy
  • 3LGLTPE, ENS Lyon, University of Lyon, Lyon, France
  • 4LAMPEA, CNRS UMR 7269, University Aix-Marseille, Aix-en Provence, France
  • 5Institute of Geological Sciences, National Academy of Sciences of Armenia, Yerevan, Armenia
  • 6LGLTPE, CNRS UMR 5276, University of Lyon, Villeurbanne, France

Armenia is located in the Caucasus Mountains and today, its vegetation is largely dominated by steppes closely linked with human practices. Armenian human history roots back to the Neolithic period, which questions long human influences on steppe and therefore climate reconstructions from vegetation data. Moreover, vegetation records from this region are often low resolution and do not cover the entire Holocene. Pollen-based climate reconstruction coupled to independent climate reconstructions appear necessary to fully understand climate forcing in the region during the Holocene. In this study, we introduce high-resolution pollen, geochemical analyses and temperature reconstruction based on pollen and branched glycerol dialkyl glycerol tetraethers (brGDGTs) from Vanevan peat in Armenia. The wetland studied show major ecological changes observed through aquatic vegetation and sediment composition (XRF data). At the beginning of the Holocene, the study site is expected to be integrated in a larger Lake Sevan, then it became an independent lake and finally a peatland at 5700 cal BP. A drying phase is also attested around 4.2 kyrs, probably corresponding to the 4.2 ka climate event. Along the sequence, the vegetation is characterized by steppes dominated by Poaceae, Artemisia and Chenopodiaceae. However, forests composed of Quercus, Betula, Carpinus betulus and Ulmus, are more developed on slopes between 7600 cal BP and 5500 cal BP. Agriculture is observed since 5700 cal BP and correlates with occupation periods reported in archeological studies. Over this 10000 yrs-long record, we suppose that differences in response of wetland and vegetation to climate might be linked to ecological processes and human influence. The comparison between pollen-based climate reconstruction and temperature obtained with brGDGT calibrations promisingly illustrate these differences. Finally, we contextualize these results with other regional records to understand the impact of climate change on steppe vegetation in the Caucasus at a larger scale.

How to cite: Robles, M., Peyron, O., Ménot, G., Brugiapaglia, E., Ollivier, V., Tozalakyan, P., Meliksetian, K., Sahakyan, L., and Joannin, S.: Impact of climate change on steppe environments around Lake Sevan in Armenia during the Holocene, EGU General Assembly 2020, Online, 4–8 May 2020, EGU2020-21402,, 2020


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