PerspectivePALEOECOLOGY

The fourth dimension of vegetation

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Science  28 Oct 2016:
Vol. 354, Issue 6311, pp. 412-413
DOI: 10.1126/science.aai8737

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Summary

In July 1916, Swedish geologist Lennart von Post showed that by identifying and counting pollen preserved at different depths in Swedish peat bogs he could infer changes in forest composition through time (13). Following his pioneering work, pollen analysis quickly became established as a key tool for understanding past vegetation, climate, and ecosystems. Today, it is used widely to reconstruct past ecosystems and test hypotheses about drivers of ecosystem change.