The increasing interest during recent years in vegetation history, long-term climatic changes and the development of biotic communities has resulted in a growth of the literature in this field and has provided an incentive for scientists to use palaeo-ecology concepts to clarify contemporary ecological issues. Quaternary ecology offers the perspective of time, in using "natural experiments of the past" to evaluate the responses of population, communities and ecosystems to climatic and environmental changes on a time scale extending back over the past two milion years of the quaternary period. Examples from the palaeo-ecological literature demonstrate how quaternary ecology interfaces with other branches of ecology, including plant demography, ecological genetics, limnology and landscape ecology. The book provides an integrated overview of this interdisciplinary area. The authors examine the validity of space for time substitution in studies of plant succession, the individualistic nature of species migrations and invasions of pre-existing communities, the disassembly and reassembly of communities following major environmental change and the applications of quaternary ecology to predicting biotic responses to future global climatic change. By examining key ecological issues and controversies that can be approached fruitfully using palaeo-ecological methods, this book is intended to complement rather than replace traditional textbooks in ecology and palaeo-ecology.Vom Verlag:
Over the past several decades the field of Quaternary ecology has undergone a fundamental change in perspective. Paleoecologists, who were formerly con cerned with biostratigraphic questions, have increasingly begun to develop and test explicitly ecological hypotheses. Literature emphasizing the con tributions of paleoecology to contemporary issues in ecology is growing, but many of the key papers are published in journals not traditionally read by ecologists. The tendency toward increased specialization within ecology, along with the proliferation of new journals as publication outlets, increasingly makes it difficult to communicate effectively across sUbdisciplines within ecology. With this book, we hope to bridge the communication gap between Quaternary ecologists and other ecologists. In this book we do not attempt to cover the subject of Quaternary ecology in a traditional textbook presentation. Two comprehensive books, one contemporary text (Birks and Birks, 1980) and a handbook of techniques (Berglund, 1986) appropriate to various specialties within this field are available to the reader who is interested in the details of methods used in reconstructing past communities and ecosystems.
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