Vegetation history of the SE section of the Zagros Mountains during the last five millennia; a pollen record from the Maharlou Lake, Fars Province, Iran

Research paper by Morteza Djamali, Jacques-Louis De Beaulieu, Naomi F. Miller, Valérie Andrieu-Ponel, Philippe Ponel, Razieh Lak, Nasser Sadeddin, Hossein Akhani, Hassan Fazeli

Indexed on: 27 Aug '08Published on: 27 Aug '08Published in: Vegetation History and Archaeobotany


A pollen diagram was derived from a 150 cm core taken from the shallow hypersaline Lake Maharlou in the south-eastern part of the Zagros Mountains, SW Iran. The pollen record shows that Quercus brantii woodland and Pistacia–Amygdalus scrub dominated the area during the late Holocene. The record starts at around 5700 cal b.p. with a dry period during which both Pistacia–Amygdalus scrub and Quercusbrantii woodland were at their minimum extent. This period was followed by the expansion of Pistacia–Amygdalus scrub in the area and the spread of Quercusbrantii woodlands at higher altitudes. An important occupation phase, characterized by the appearance of several cultivated tree species such as Juglans, Olea, Vitis and Platanus, started at ca. 4300 cal b.p., coinciding with the onset of the Bronze Age civilization of Jiroft in Central Iran. Human activities become very clear after 3700 cal b.p. Around 2700 cal b.p., extensive stands of Pistacia–Amygdalus scrub became profoundly degraded, presumably under strong human pressure coinciding with the beginning of the Persian Empires. The maximum expansion of the Quercusbrantii woodland occurred about 2100 to 1700 cal b.p. This woodland remained relatively stable until the end of the diagram at 400 cal b.p.