Abstract

The method of modern analogs and an extensive data base of modern and fossil pollen data were used to generate a new series of paleovegetation maps for eastern North America spanning the past 18 ka. The maps illustrate the continuous nature of climate-induced vegetation change and the development, after about 10 ka, of modern regional vegetation patterns. Before the Holocene, vegetation biomes without modern analogs were widespread in response to climate conditions without modern analogs and, to a lesser extent, to the rapidity of climate change over the last glacial-interglacial transition. This geological perspective suggests that possible future climate changes could force similarly complex changes in natural vegetation, including the development of biomes without modern analogs.

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