Palaeoecology and plant population dynamics

I. Colin Prentice*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)


The pollen record of the past 10-20 thousand years is a source of data both on long-term climatic change and on the dynamics of plant populations in response to climatic change. Time sequences of pollen accumulation rates record invasions of tree taxa over 101-103 years. Palaeoecologists have fifted such data with simple population dynamic models that assume a constant climate. Population doubling times estimated from the pollen record are consistent with species' life-history characteristics and with estimates based on the population structure of modern forests. This palaeo-ecological approach complements palaeoclimatological studies of longeer-term (103-105-year) population shifts, in which population response is assumed instantaneous. Both approaches depend on population responses being fast compared to the climatic changes that cause them. Pollen data also record the more complex interactions between climate and vegetation that occur during periods of rapid climatic change, and could be used to test more realistic models of vegetation dynamics in a changing environment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)343-345
Number of pages3
JournalTrends in Ecology and Evolution
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 1988
Externally publishedYes


Dive into the research topics of 'Palaeoecology and plant population dynamics'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this