Abstract

The postglacial history of vegetation in the Yale area of the lower Fraser River Canyon is described from sediments of two lakes using percentage pollen analysis supplemented with macrofossil evidence and radiocarbon dating. Deposition of postglacial sediments, ranging from basal clays to gyttjas, began about 11 500 y B.P. Three distinct pollen assemblage zones are distinguished, reflecting in part the main climatic conditions for the intervals. The oldest zone, with high percentages of pine (Pinus) and alder (Alnus) pollen, suggests cool and moist conditions following withdrawal of glacial ice. This is followed by marked increases in Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga), grasses and other nonarboreal pollen, suggesting in part, warmer and drier conditions. The third zone, ranging from about the Mt. Mazama ash at 6600 y B.P. to the present, is marked by high alder and Douglas-fir, and increasing cedar (Thuja-Chamaecyparis type), western hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla), fir (Abies) and birch; an assemblage indicating a return to wetter conditions. This sequence contrasts with previously described successions that recognized the classical Hypsithermal in adjacent areas. The sequence of inferred vegetational changes, although similar to those described for the Haney area to the west, suggests that the Yale area has been a biogeoclimatically transitional area for much of postglacial time.

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