Millennial-scale changes in local vegetation and fire regimes on Mount Constitution, Orcas Island, Washington, USA, using small hollow sediments

Wendy Y. Sugimura, Douglas G. Sprugel, Linda B. Brubaker, Philip E. Higuera

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    Abstract

    We used pollen and charcoal records from small hollows plus a network of surface samples to reconstruct stand-level vegetation and fire history at three sites on the Mount Constitution plateau of Orcas Island, Washington, USA. One record (beginning ca. 7100 calibrated years BP) is from a xeric site on the northern plateau, and two (beginning 3800 and 7650 years BP, respectively) are from mesic sites on the central and south-central plateau. Before 5300 years BP, vegetation and fire regimes at both the northern and south-central sites resembled those of current Mount Constitution forests. Around 5300 years BP, Alnus increased and Pinus decreased at the mesic south-central site, suggesting a change to moister and (or) cooler conditions, but Pinus remained dominant at or near the more xeric northern site. At both sites, charcoal deposition decreased, suggesting a decrease in fire frequency and (or) severity consistent with wetter conditions. After 2000 years BP, charcoal deposition increased at all three sites, and Pinus increased in the central and south-central sites, suggesting a return to drier conditions. Thus, stands on different sites in close proximity responded individually to the same climate change, depending on local site conditions and the ecology of the dominant trees.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)539-552
    Number of pages14
    JournalCanadian Journal of Forest Research
    Volume38
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Mar 2008

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