|wydał Instytut Botaniki Polskiej Akademii Nauk|
Botaniki - Polska
Atlas of the
The history of the development of Pleistocene continental glaciations and their influence on the terrestrial flora and vegetation of Europe is best reflected in the deposits of Central and Eastern Europe, especially Poland, Belarus and Lithuania, but also partially in those of Latvia and the Ukraine and the western areas of European Russia. These deposits represent all glacial, interglacial and interstadial periods.
Studies of the fossil remains of fruits and seeds preserved in the Pleistocene deposits began at the end of the 19th century (Reid 1892) and have a long tradition also in Central and Eastern Europe. In Poland they were initiated by Wladyslaw Szafer with publications on the Dryas-floras of Volhynia (Szafer 1911) and Krystynopol (Szafer 1912) and in Eastern Europe by Sukaczev (1907) and P. Nikitin (1927a, b). Since then many interglacial and interstadial floras have been discovered and examined. In Poland the main stress has been placed on pollen analysis as a method for determining stratigraphy in palaeobotanical studies of the Pleistocene.
The development of palaeocarpological studies during the last 50 years has contributed much to our knowledge of the abundance and diversity of Pleistocene fossil floras, the history of particular plant taxa, the scale of their variability, the connections between extinct and contemporary plant species, and above all to the knowledge of their stratigraphic ranges. Consequently, palaeocarpological analysis has become a valuable, and sometimes even a decisive, method for determining the age of deposits in which remains have been found. The use of this method for establishing the stratigraphy of Pleistocene deposits is the most reliable that we have. It always relates to local vegetation which better reflects changes in the climate, whereas palynological analysis produces primarily a picture of regional vegetation, not always specific enough for dating deposits.
However, the identification of fossil plant macroremains is not easy, particularly when comparative material of fruits and seeds (both fossil and contemporary) is lacking. What is more, most fossil floras are poorly or only fragmentarily documented in the publications available, while plant macroremains are often not illustrated in them at all. Data concerning their occurrence and stratigraphic ranges are scattered and difficult to collate. Publications in the form of atlases useful in palaeocarpological studies of the Pleistocene are few, published long ago and based mostly on contemporary plant taxa (e.g. Bertsch 1941, Beijer-nick 1947, Dombrovskaya et al. 1959, Kats et al. 1965, Berggren 1969, 1981, Anderberg 1994). To faciliate palaeofloristic studies of the Pleistocene (and to some extent also of the Holocene of Europe) work has been undertaken on an Atlas of the Pleistocene vascular plant macrofossils of Central and Eastern Europe. It has been based on the most representative collections of plant remains from the interglacial and interstadial floras of Eastern Europe and Poland. The latter have recently been revised after many years of cooperation between Prof. K. Mamakowa from the W. Szafer Institute of Botany, Polish Academy of Sciences and Prof. E Yu. Velichkevich from the Institute of Geochemistry and Geophysics of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus in Minsk (Mamakowa & Velichkevich 1993a, b, Velichkevich & Mamakowa 1999, 2003, Velichkevich et al. 2004, 2005).
The author of the most part of determinations of the plant remains is F. Yu. Velichkevich who has also selected the illustrative material which appears in the Atlas.We hope that the Atlas will prove useful not only for palaeobotanists examining changes in the flora and vegetation of this period of the Earth's history, but will also augment our knowledge of the history of particular plant taxa and their evolution.