Late-glacial trees from arctic coast to alpine tundra: response to
Article first published online: 19 JAN 2006
Journal of Biogeography
Volume 33, Issue 2, pages 377–378, February 2006
How to Cite
Kullman, L. (2006), Late-glacial trees from arctic coast to alpine tundra: response to . Journal of Biogeography, 33: 377–378. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2699.2005.01451.x
- Issue published online: 19 JAN 2006
- Article first published online: 19 JAN 2006
A reply to H.H. Birks, E. Larsen & H.J.B. Birks (2006) On the presence of late-glacial trees in western Norway and the Scandes. A further comment. Journal of Biogeography, 33, 376.
Birks et al. (2006) remain sceptical of my hypothesis concerning late-glacial tree immigration to northern Scandinavia from glacial refugia closer to Scandinavia than previously believed, possibly to the west. Here, I provide a new finding that clarifies the background for my conviction that this hypothesis best accounts for the available evidence.
Their central argument against my hypothesis concerns the purported absence of late-glacial trees on the Norwegian coast. During a holiday trip to Andøya (Nordland Fylke in north-western Norway) in 1998, the surroundings of a small pool were scrutinized for the presence of megafossil wood (Fig. 1). The site (69°14′ N, 15°55′ E and 60 m a.s.l.) is located in the valley of Stavedalen, 5 km SSW of the coastal village of Bleik and about 25 m west of the road from there to Nordmela. The pool has a diameter of 15 m and exists in a landscape dominated by young birch copses and valley floor mires. Close to its northern edge, wood remnants protruded 5–10 cm above the surface of a Sphagnum hummock. One piece of wood, a root from Betula pubescens, 40 cm in length and 8 cm in diameter, was retrieved (Fig. 2). Wood anatomical analysis by Dr Thomas Bartholin, Copenhagen, confirmed this species identification. Radiocarbon dating was not undertaken until 2003. The dating result was 16,900 ± 170 14C years bp (Beta-172304). This is consistent with pollen and macrofossil records from this area, indicating ice-free conditions at this time (Alm, 1993). Given this remarkable old age, close to the last glacial maximum, more detailed investigations of this site would have been desirable. Unfortunately, lack of funding has precluded this. Because of the present debate, and the increasing focus on the Norwegian coast, I have decided to publish the preliminary finding from the site.
In conclusion, I contend that the purported absence of late-glacial trees on ice-free coastal strips of northern Norway (Birks et al., 2005, 2006) cannot be a conclusive argument against my basic hypothesis. I suggest that the focus should instead be on the megafossil data from the high-elevations sites along the southern Swedish Scandes (cf. Kullman, 2005).
- 1993) ØvreÆråsvatn – palynostratigraphy of a 22,000 to 10,000 bp lacustrine record on Andøya, northern Norway. Boreas 20, 171–188. (
- 2005) Did tree-Betula, Pinus and Picea survive the last glaciation along the west coast of Norway? A review of the evidence in light of Kullman (2002). Journal of Biogeography, 32, 1461–1471. , & (
- 2006) On the presence of late-glacial trees in western Norway and the Scandes. A further comment. Journal of Biogeography, 33, 376. , & (
- 2005) On the presence of Late-glacial trees in the Scandes. Journal of Biogeography, 32, 1499–1500. (