Patterns and drivers of Holocene vegetational change near the prairie–forest ecotone in Minnesota: revisiting McAndrews’ transect
Author for correspondence:
David M. Nelson
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Fax: +1 217 333 0508
- • Holocene vegetational dynamics along the prairie–forest border of Minnesota were first documented in McAndrews’ classic work. Despite numerous subsequent paleo-studies, a number of questions remain unanswered about the vegetation history of the region. Here, pollen, stable-isotope, mineral, and charcoal data are described from three lakes near McAndrews’ sites. These data were compared with other paleoenvironmental records to reconstruct vegetation, aridity, and fire.
- • The climate was relatively wet with increasing summer temperatures before ~8000 yr before present (BP). The rates of changes were asymmetric for the onset and termination of middle-Holocene aridity, with an abrupt increase at ~8000 yr BP and a gradual, but variable, decline from ~7800 to 4000 yr BP.
- • Early-Holocene coniferous forests changed to mixed-grass prairie without an intervening period of tallgrass prairie or deciduous forest, whereas the retreat of prairie was characterized by transitions from mixed-grass to tallgrass prairie to deciduous forest and finally to coniferous forest. Within the middle Holocene, the composition and structures of grass-dominated vegetation varied both temporally and spatially.
- • Fire primarily responded to changes in climate and fuel loads. Vegetation was more strongly influenced by climatic changes than by fire-regime shifts.