Holocene vegetation and fire history of the floristically diverse Klamath Mountains, northern California, USA

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Title: Holocene vegetation and fire history of the floristically diverse Klamath Mountains, northern California, USA
Author: Briles, Christy Elaine, 1976-
Abstract: The Holocene vegetation and fire history of the Klamath Mountains (KM), northern California, was reconstructed at three sites based on an analysis of pollen and high-resolution macroscopic charcoal in lake-sediment cores. These data were compared with five existing records to examine regional patterns. The objective was to determine the relative importance of climate history, substrate, and disturbance regime on the development of the Klamath vegetation. In the first study, two middle-elevation sites were compared along a moisture gradient in the northern KM. The pollen data indicated a similar vegetation history, beginning with subalpine parkland in the late-glacial period, and changing to open forest in the early Holocene and closed forest in the late Holocene. However, the timing of these changes differed between sites and is attributed to the relative importance of coastal influences and topography. The second study examined the effect of substrate and nutrient limitations on the vegetation history. The pollen data suggest that ultramafic substrates (UMS), containing heavy metals and low nutrients that limit plant growth, supported drier plant communities than those on non-ultramafic substrates (NUMS) for any given period. For example, between 14,000 and 11,000 cal yr BP, cooler and wetter conditions than present led to the establishment of a subalpine parkland of Pinus monticola and/or Pinus lambertina, Tsuga, Picea on non-ultramafic substrates (NUMS). On UMS, an open Pinus jeffreyi and/or Pinus contorta woodland developed. In the early Holocene, when conditions were warmer and drier than present, open forests of Pinus monticola/lambertina , Cupressaceae, Quercus and/or Amelanchier grew on NUMS, whereas open forest consisting of Pinus Jeffreyi/contorta , Cupressaceac and Quercus developed on UMS. In the late Holocene, cool wet conditions favored closed forests of Abies, Pseudotsuga , and Tsuga on NUMS, whereas Pinus jeffreyi/contorta , Cupressaceae and Quercus forest persisted with little change on UMS. The charcoal data indicate that past fire activity was similar at all sites, implying a strong climatic control. The results of both studies suggest that the influence of Holocene climate variations, disturbance regime, and substrate type have helped create the current mosaic of vegetation in the KM.
Description: xiv, 227 p. : ill. (some col.) A print copy of this title is available through the UO Libraries under the call numbers: KNIGHT QE720.2.K53 B75 2008
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1794/7486
Date: 2008-03


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