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Post-glacial vegetation history of Sulphur Lake, southwest Yukon.

Alder in flower

Palaeoecological studies based on the analysis of pollen in lake sediments offer the potential for high resolution and well-dated independent records of past vegetation and climate. Sulphur Lake, located in the southwest Yukon (60.95N, 137.95W), was chosen for a paleoecological study to explore post-glacial vegetation dynamics in this region of the boreal forest. A 5 m sediment core was raised from the deepest section of Sulphur Lake in August 1996 using a modified Livingstone piston corer. The sequence spans the full post-glacial and thus provides new information to the previously reconstructed history of vegetation change in the southwest Yukon Territory. The pollen spectra indicate that between approximately 12 800 and 9 500 BP the vegetation progressed from an open birch shrub tundra to a Populus woodland. Juniperus populations also expanded at this time but by 8 200 BP, the relatively closed white spruce forest that occupies the region today was established. A transect of 17 lakes was sampled for surface sediments in order to examine the relationship between modern pollen deposition and modern vegetation in this region, and to aid in the interpretation of fossil pollen assemblages.

See: Lacourse, T. and K. Gajewski. 2000. Late Quaternary vegetation history of Sulphur Lake, southwest Yukon Territory, Canada. Arctic 53:27-35.



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