On the basis of new palaeoecological and genetical data from Central European mountain areas the Holocene processes of migration and mass expansion of beech (Fagus sylvatica) can be reflected as result of climate and human influence as well. In contrast to former models of vegetation dynamics both effects on the development of Central European beech forests can be differentiated now by using a spatial and temporal distribution model which includes elevation as an important environmental factor. According to pollenanalytical studies these beech populations did not futher migrate into the large plain area of Northwest Germany after having conquered the central mountainuous areas. According to the genetical and palaeoecological data we can conclude that the Northwestern part of Germany, France and the Netherlands might be settled by different beech populations which did not mix with these southeastern proviniences in spite of the fact that man opened the landscape by distroying the former Atlantic mixed deciduous forests which could have provided a wider distribution of beech. In the plains of Northwest Germany Fagus sylvatica appears 3000 years later and than continuously formed small beech forest which reached their full size during historic times.
This study represents the 1st survey of the temperate deciduous forests of mainland Asia on the territories of the Russian Far East, Northeast China and Korea. A total of 1200 releves are used, representing nemoral broadleaved (Fraxinus mandshurica, Kalopanax septemlobus, Quercus mongolica, Tilia amurensis)-coniferous (Abies holophylla, Pinus koraiensis) forests, and broadleaved Quercus spp. forests. The vegetation is classified into 4 orders, 12 alliances, 50 associations, 31 subassociations and 8 variants. One order Lespedezo bicoloris-Quercetalia mongolicae, 4 alliances Rhododendro daurici-Pinion koraiensis, Phrymo asiaticae-Pinion koraiensis, Corylo heterophyllae-Quercion mongolicae and Dictamno dasycarpi-Quercion mongolicae, and 14 associations are described for the first time. The communities are placed into two classes. Quercetea mongolicae reflets monsoon humid maritime climate with the amount of summer precipitation higher than winter precipitation and the lack of period of moisture deficit. It occurs in Korea, montane regions of China east of Lesser Hingan and Sikhote-Alin. Betulo davuricae-Quercetea mongolicae unites forests in conditions of semiarid subcontinental climate with summer precipitation considerably higher than winter precipitation and with the period of moisture deficit in spring and early summer. It occupies mostly the regions of northeast China and eastern Russia west of the Lesser Hingan and in the low elevation belts of the southern Sikhote-Alin.
Summer-green deciduous forests with the beech (Fagus sylvatica) form the regional potential natural vegetation of Central Europe. Beach forest communities dominate large parts of a long development in the interaction between climate, soil and man. Following the climatic improvements in the late Ice Age and thereafter, a number of different deciduous and coniferous trees advanced from their refuge areas. Governed by secular climate changes, they came in stages, from the first to the last type to migrate, over a period of 9000 years. From its various refuges in the Mediterranean area during the Glacial Periods, the beech took at least two different routes to North and Central Europe. Late glacial occurrences in Greece, near the Adriatic Sea, in the southern Alps, the Cantabrian Mountains, the Pyrenees and the Cevennes attest to their refuges. There might have been other refuges near the Carpathian mountains. The migration routes of the west and east provenances met in the northern part of the foothills of the Alps, and from there, the beech reached the central mountainous region of the Vosges Mountains, the Black forest, the Swabian Mountains and the Bavarian Forest in about 5000 BC. Since the middle of the Atlanticum, Fagus-pollen can be found in respective deposits in larger moors. At almost the same time, between 5000 and 4500 BC, the beech also reached the limestone and loess locations of the northern central mountains from the south-east. From there it very likely spread to the neighbouring loam areas in the sandy heathland of the north german coast (geest). We cannot rule out the possibility that the beech was spread by anthropo-zoogenical means, in northern Central Europe this is very likely to be the case.