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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