Holocene development of aquatic plant communities in subarctic Lake Njargajavri, Finnish Lapland, was studied using plant macrofossil analysis. Sediment lithology, grain size, and C/N ratios showed distinct lithological phases, indicating past water-level fluctuations. The colonization of limnophytes took place right after the formation of the lake (after ca. 11,500 cal. BP). The earliest plant macrofossil assemblages indicate nutrient-rich conditions and a warmer climate than at present. After this primary succession phase, aquatic vascular plants were replaced by aquatic bryophytes (before ca. 10,200 cal. BP). Together with lithological evidence, we interpret this as being related to the lowering water table. According to palynological, chronological, and sedimentological evidence, Njargajavri underwent a very shallow phase between ca. 10,000 and 9500 cal. BP and dried out for an unknown period of time between ca. 8000 and 5000 cal. BP. After the dry phase, the water level started to rise and sedimentation at the coring point began again. Despite re-establishment of the lacustrine habitat, late-Holocene plant macrofossil data show no marked recolonization of either vascular limnophytes or bryophytes. The reason for all limnophytes being presently absent from the lake remains speculative. The lack of nutrients and/or the cooling climate (especially shortening of the open-water season) during the latter part of the Holocene may explain why limnophytes failed to recolonize the lake.
Fields of Science
- 114 Physical sciences