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The Colorado Plateau is a distinct physiographic province in western North America, which presently straddles the transition between summer-wet and summer-dry climatic regimes to the south and northwest, respectively. In addition to climate, the diversity of environments and plant communities on the Colorado Plateau has resulted from extreme topographic diversity. Desert lowlands as low as 360 m elevation are surrounded by forested plateaus, and even higher peaks greater than 3800 m elevation. This environmental diversity provides a unique opportunity to study the history of biotic communities in an arid region of North America. Although the Colorado Plateau harbours numerous potential sites, the paleoecological...
This data release includes climatic variables and associated descriptive material created for the purpose of assessing uncertainties associated with climatic estimates based on vegetation assemblages (Thompson and others, 2021). The data are from the interior of the western United States, including all of Arizona, and portions of California, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, Texas, and Utah. The data are observed, interpolated, and estimated values for the mean temperature of the coldest month (MTCO, degrees C), mean temperature of the warmest month (MTWA, degrees C), and mean annual total precipitation (MAP, mm).
Pollen and plant macrofossils from the Keystone Ironbog are used to document changes in species composition and the dynamics of the subalpine forest in western Colorado over the past 8000 years. Modern pollen spectra (particularly pollen influx), plant macrofossils, observations on modern species composition, and quantified densities and mean basal areas of forest trees are used to interpret the paleoecology of the forest. From 8000 to 2600 years ago the fen was surrounded by a subalpine forest. However, unlike the modern subalpine forest where Abies lasiocarpa (Hooker) Nuttall is slightly more abundant than Picea engelmannii (Parry) Engelmann, these Holocene forests had a greater dominance of P. engelmannii, perhaps...