Vegetation reconstruction from fossil pollen records depends on an adequate understanding of the relationship between modern pollen-rain and the extant vegetation. Modern pollen assemblages, that reflect the extant vegetation of an area, have been documented through the palynological analysis of 30 modern moss cushions from Rourkela, Sundargarh District (Odisha State), India. The study demonstrated the dominance of non-arboreal pollen taxa (NAPs; herbs) over the arboreal pollen taxa (APs; trees and shrubs). Tree pollen taxa, among the APs, contributed with an average sum of 23% of the total pollen sum, whereas shrubby taxa have an average pollen sum of 17%. Among the herbs (NAPs), Poaceae is the dominating herbaceous taxon in the total pollen-rain, whereas Cerealia and other cultural pollen taxa are the other prominent herbaceous taxa of the pollen-rain, besides Asteroideae. The overall pollen assemblages suggest an open nature of the forest around the study area. Insights into pollen source, representation (production and dispersal), transport and preservation of certain taxa around the study area have been also provided. Comparison of the pollen assemblages in present study with the pollen assemblages from other areas (especially from central India) has been also been made in order to have a broad overview of such study around the study area. The present study could improve our understanding of the modern pollen-rain/vegetation relationship and further aid in calibration and interpretation of the fossil pollen records.
Abbreviations: APs: arboreal pollen; NAPs: non-arboreal pollen; TPS: total pollen sum; ISM: Indian summer monsoon; SWSM: South west summer monsoon; BSIP: Birbal Sahni Institute of Palaeosciences