The responses of ecosystems to climate change is influenced by geology and soils
The influence of geology and soils on long-term vegetation dynamics has up to now received little attention. The diverse geology of the Klamath Mountains of northern California allows examination of the long-term influence of soil nutrient constraints in subalpine forests through a comparison of vegetation histories between nutrient-limited ultramafic substrates and terrain that is more fertile. Pollen and charcoal records spanning up to 15 000 years from different environmental settings reveal distinctly different vegetation histories. Our results suggest that the tree and shrub distributions were more responsive to climate changes over the Holocene on more fertile substrates compared to those on nutrient limited substrates. The combination of these dynamics may help explain high levels of plant diversity in the Klamath Mountains and provide insights for managing complex ecosystems.
Forest Service Partners