Evaluating long-term temperate forest diversity following human disturbances

Authors: Julie Commerford*, Saginaw Valley State University, Gabrielle Gittens, Saginaw Valley State University, Kendra K. McLauchlan, Kansas State University, Broxton W. Bird, Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis
Topics: Paleoenvironmental Change, Biogeography
Keywords: pollen, temperate forest, biodiversity, resilience, Native Americans, paleoecology, biogeography
Session Type: Poster
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 3:05 PM / 4:45 PM
Room: Lincoln 2, Marriott, Exhibition Level
Presentation File: Download



The impact of ecosystem disturbances on vegetation diversity can vary greatly from ecosystem to ecosystem. While vegetation diversity often changes immediately after human disturbances, the only way to evaluate the enduring impact of those disturbances is to examine diversity over long time scales. This is, in part, because certain plant species (such as trees) can take decades to fully regenerate. In addition, a comprehensive assessment of diversity requires consideration of both species richness and evenness. For example, an ecosystem could have very high richness, but be dominated just a few species if it has low evenness. We are examining pollen from a 3000-year sediment record from Avery Lake, Illinois, to reconstruct vegetation composition and diversity in a temperate forest following land clearing by early groups of Native Americans between 350 BCE-0 CE and 1050-1400 CE. Here, we present the first 40 pollen samples of this research.

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