Phytoliths of Dutch forests, wetlands and cultivated lands

Phytoliths of Dutch forests, wetlands and cultivated lands

de Wolf, I. K., McMichael, C. N., Philip, A. L., & Gosling, W. D., 2022. Characterising Dutch forests, wetlands and cultivated lands on the basis of phytolith assemblages. Netherlands Journal of Geosciences, 101, e17. doi:10.1017/njg.2022.14

We have characterized phytolith assemblages for soil samples from three major vegetation types in the Netherlands to provide reference data for future reconstructions of past vegetation change. We identified phytolith morphotypes and quantified the percentages and concentrations of 42 soil surface samples from forests, wetlands and cultivated lands across the Netherlands and used non-metric multidimensional scaling to assess the variation in phytolith assemblage composition. The phytolith assemblages analyzed from these vegetation types were clearly distinguishable from each other and even different subtypes of vegetation within forests and wetlands could be identified. Our study demonstrates that phytolith persevered in soils or sediments can be used to separate major vegetation types across the Netherlands. Thus, these results support the hypothesis that phytoliths can be used to infer past environmental condition in palaeoecological reconstructions.

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