This paper examines fourteen fossil pollen datasets from Romania. It aims to investigate the temporal and spatial variability in the range distribution and abundance of three forest taxa, Pinus, Picea abies, and Quercus, during the Holocene. This is essential for understanding their current status in the forests of Eastern Europe, the conditions under which they arose, and the timing and ... [Show full abstract] processes responsible for their variability. Results from this synthesis do not indicate any apparent time lag in the establishment of Pinus diploxylon type (Pinus sylvestris and Pinus mugo), Pinus cembra, P. abies, and Quercus across Romania within the limits of the dating resolution. However, the onset of the mass expansion of P. abies was not uniform, spreading earlier from sites in the western and north-western Carpathians (11,000–10,500 yr BP) than in the east (10,000 yr BP). We found that sites from the western, north-western, and northern Carpathians contained higher abundances of P. abies, whilst Quercus was in higher abundances in sites from the east, but there was no regional distinctiveness in the abundance of Pinus across the study area. However, P. diploxylon type was found in much higher abundance than P. cembra. Additionally, results indicate a greater proportion of Pinus (mainly P. diplxylon type) at high elevations, P. abies at mid to high elevations, and Quercus at low elevations (<500 m). The dominance of Pinus in the early Holocene boreal forest is likely the legacy of its local glacial refugia, fast life history strategies, high stress tolerance, and large habitat availability. In contrast, Pinus exhibited poor competitive abilities and was quickly replaced with P. abies and temperate deciduous taxa after 10,500 yr BP. P. abies has persisted in large abundances at higher elevations (above 1000 m) until the present day, as a result of good competitive abilities, and resilience to climate change and disturbance. The long-term dominance of P. abies appears to have been spatially constrained, as populations below ca 1000 m were replaced by Fagus sylvatica from ca 4000 years ago, Recently, Pinus (mainly P. sylvestris) and P. abies have both experienced range expansions a consequence of forest management. Quercus is the only continental deciduous tree that has maintained high abundance throughout the whole Holocene. Members of this genus demonstrated high resilience to climate change and disturbance; following a period of decline it was capable of recovery during subsequent intervals of warm conditions or disturbance.Highlights► No time lag in the establishment of Pinus, Picea abies, and Quercus across Romania. ► Early expansion and higher abundance of P. abies at sites from west and north-west. ► Pinus shows resilience to climate variability but low competition ability. ► P. abies and Quercus persisted abundantly throughout the Holocene. ► P. abies and Quercus show good resilience to climate change and disturbance.