Pollen analysis supported by 25 accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) 14C dates from the Tăul Negru peat bog (1143 m) in the Lăpuş Mountains (Eastern Carpathians, Romania) is used to reconstruct the Holocene vegetation history of this mountain region. The vegetation record at Tăul Negru starts at c. 10,500 cal yr BP with dense montane forests dominated by Picea abies (spruce) and Ulmus (elm). Corylus avellana (hazel) spread after 10,000 cal yr BP and reached maximum frequencies between 9000 and 7000 cal yr BP before decreasing. Thereafter, Picea prevailed in the forests with Carpinus betulus (hornbeam) expanding after 5700 cal yr BP, attaining maximum representation at 4200 cal yr BP. Fagus sylvatica (beech) spread from 4800 cal yr BP onwards with a short decline around 3700 cal yr BP. Mass expansion resumed afterwards, leading to the ultimate recession of Picea, Corylus and Ulmus. Fagus predominates the forests to the present. Small-scale human influence on the landscape (cereal-type pollen grains, Poaceae, and Plantago lanceolata) first appeared after 6000 cal yr BP. Further anthropogenic impact was detected after 5000 cal yr BP, and was slightly stronger between 2300 cal yr BP and the twelfth century AD with regular and increasing appearances of primary and secondary cultural indicators. Large-scale forest clearing in the lowlands and foothills with more agriculture led to the development of the modern cultural landscape in the last 500 years.

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