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Ecology. 1987 Dec;68(6):1993-2005. doi: 10.2307/1939890.

Beech Range Extension and Vegetation History: Pollen Stratigraphy of Two Wisconsin Lakes.

Abstract

The pollen stratigraphy of two small lakes in eastern Wisconsin (Radtke Lake, Washington county, and Gass Lake, Manitowoc County) records the Holocene (past 10 000 yr) spread of beech (Fagus grandifolia: Fagaceae). Radiocarbon dates were obtained for the oldest stratigraphic levels at which beech pollen appeared consistently in amounts > 0.5% of terrestrial pollen. A spatially continuous pattern of beech expansion from the north was ruled out, because beech trees grew in Wisconsin by 6000 BP, 2000 yr before adjacent populations were established to the north. Alternative geographic patterns of speed (from the south or east) were spatially discontinuous, requiring seed dispersal distances of perhaps 25-130 km. That beechnuts could be dispersed across such distances suggests (1) the involvement of Blue Jays, Passenger Pigeons, or other vertebrates, and (2) a capacity for reaching climatically controlled range limits, given sufficient time despite such discontinuities in habitat. A lag 1000-2000 yr between the establishment of source populations in Michigan and Indiana and the appearance of beech in Wisconsin suggests that low-probability dispersal events were involved and that dispersal constraints limited the range of beech during this time, although climatic and edaphic explanations for the lag cannot be ruled out. Pollen data from the two sites reveal other features of vegetation history in eastern Wisconsin: an open Picea-Fraxinus woodland prior to 11 000 BP; sequence of Picea, Abies, Betula, and then Pinus forests between 11 000 and 7500 BP; the establishment of a coniferous/deciduous forest ecotone ("tension zone") ° 7000 BP in this region; and the presence of Quercus-dominanted deciduous forests from 7000 BP until 110 BP (time of Euro-American settlement), a period punctuated by a gradual decrease in Ulmus populations (° 4500 and 5700 BP at the two sites) and by an increase in mesophytic tree abundance at the expense of Quercus after 3500 BP.

PMID:
29357137
DOI:
10.2307/1939890

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