International Geologiical Congress - Oslo 2008


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CGC-09 Glacial-interglacial vegetation dynamics


Glacial - interglacial vegetation dynamics and their relevance to understanding ecosystem resilience, variability and thresholds in a changing climate


Katherine Willis, University of Oxford (United Kingdom)
John H. B. Birks, University of Bergen (Norway)


The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment (MA, 2005, recently concluded that there is still a limited understanding of i) how quickly ecosystems respond to the interactive effects of different drivers in particular regions and across timescales ii) the responses of ecosystems to changes in the availability of important nutrients and iii) non-linear changes that lead to thresholds and irreversible changes in ecosystems. Such information is essential in order to design interventions that capture positive impacts and minimize negative ones of current and future environmental change. This talk will examine how far palaeoecological records can contribute towards achieving greater understanding of these specific ecosystem dynamics. In particular it will examine palaeo-examples of ecosystem variability, resilience and thresholds in changing glacial-interglacial climates and examine the relevance of such information to climate change-conservation strategies.


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