PerspectivePALEOECOLOGY

The Rise and Fall of Forests

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Science  23 Jul 2004:
Vol. 305, Issue 5683, pp. 484-485
DOI: 10.1126/science.1101357

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Summary

After a catastrophic disturbance to an ecosystem, there is an initial period of ecosystem buildup, eventually followed (in the absence of another major disturbance) by a decline phase during which ecosystem productivity and plant biomass decrease. In their Perspective, Birks and Birks discuss a recent chronosequence analysis of six types of forest ecosystem that demonstrates how changes in soil composition contribute to ecosystem decline during interglacial periods ( Wardle et al.).

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