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October 2003 / Vol. 53 No. 10 BioScience 927 Paleoecological studies indicate that oak species
 

Summary: October 2003 / Vol. 53 No. 10 BioScience 927
Articles
Paleoecological studies indicate that oak species
dominated much of the eastern US forest biome
during the Holocene epoch (Abrams 2002).The increased im-
portance of oak was associated with a warmer, drier climate
and with elevated fire frequency after glacial retreat. Signifi-
cant levels of charcoal influx frequently coincided with oak
pollen in lake and bog sediments throughout the Holocene.
However,the rise in oak did not occur independent of biotic
factors; as American Indian populations increased through-
out the eastern United States,so did their use of fire,land clear-
ing, and other agricultural activities (Whitney 1994). Thus,
low to moderate levels of biotic and abiotic disturbance and
climate change were an intrinsic part of the Holocene ecology,
resulting in a dynamic equilibrium in regional forests.
The magnitude of anthropogenic disturbances in North
American forests changed dramatically following European
settlement. These disturbances included extensive logging
and land clearing, catastrophic fire followed by fire suppres-

  

Source: Abrams, Marc David - School of Forest Resources, Pennsylvania State University

 

Collections: Environmental Sciences and Ecology