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Postglacial population expansion of forest trees in Norfolk, UK


The long life and large size of trees make it unrealistic to use conventional methods of plant biology in the study of their populations1. However, detailed radiocarbon-dated pollen diagrams offer the opportunity for observing the behaviour of tree populations over long periods of time (102–104 yr) and to compare phases of expansion with simple mathematical models of population growth2. This produces information concerning tree populations which could not otherwise be collected. I report here a pollen-analytical study of the expansion of several tree taxa in the early and mid-postglacial of Norfolk, UK. Exponential and logistic growth models applied to the phases of expansion of these taxa show that their populations double every 35–175 yr.

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Bennett, K. Postglacial population expansion of forest trees in Norfolk, UK. Nature 303, 164–167 (1983).

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