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Abstract Pollen analysis of the sediments of a small bog, supporting a stand of cool temperate rainforest in southeastern Tasmania, was undertaken in order to examine the history of the stand dominant, Nothofagus cunninghamii, presently growing outside its predicted climatic range. The pollen record covers at least the last 9000 years and reveals changes in the bog and in the surrounding vegetation, although pollen percentages of N. cunninghamii are sufficiently high to indicate that the species could have had a local presence throughout the recorded period. It is likely that this N. cunninghamii stand is relictual, surviving not only Holocene climates, but also the cool dry conditions of the last glacial period. This ability to survive changing and sometimes very unfavourable climates leads to the conclusion that great caution must be exercised in using present climates alone to predict the potential distribution of N. cunninghamii.