Comparison of pollen and conifer stomates as indicators of alpine treeline in northwestern Canadian lake sediments Academic Article uri icon

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abstract

  • We compare fossil pollen and stomate assemblages in 29 lake sediment surface samples from mountainous regions in northwestern Canada to characterize the relationship between modern vegetation, and pollen and stomate deposition. Modern pollen spectra were dominated by arboreal taxa originating from lower elevation sites. Pinus pollen frequently reached 30% of the pollen sum, regardless of elevation. Alpine-tundra vegetation has lower pollen abundance, even in the alpine-tundra zone, where it dominates the sparse vegetation cover. Fossil stomates were observed in all but one site where trees currently exist in the vicinity of the lake, while no stomates were found in the sediments from alpine-tundra sites. The highest concentration of stomates occurred in lake sediments from closed-canopy forested areas. Our data suggest that different boreal forest types may be differentiated based on pollen assemblages and that the presence of stomates clearly distinguishes vegetation zones dominated by arboreal vegetation from alpine-tundra zones where trees are not present.Key words: pollen, conifer stomates, treeline, Pacific Northwest.

publication date

  • September 1, 2000