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Pollen and geochronological data from South Florida; Taylor Creek Site 2

December 31, 1997

Many recent changes in plant and animal communities of the Everglades have been attributed to human alteration of the environment, such as changes in the hydrologic regime and increased agricultural activity, but cause-and-effect relationships between environmental and biotic changes have not been documented scientifically. This report on pollen and geochronological evidence from cores collected along Taylor Creek is the first of a series documenting the biotic history of a series of sites in southern Florida.
Pollen and geochronology were analyzed from two cores collected at site 2 along Taylor Creek, one short core (35 cm long) to provide high-resolution data and one long core (98 cm long) to provide a record of the last few millenia. Analysis of pollen assemblages from these cores indicate that marsh and slough vegetation, primarily sawgrass with some incursions by cattails, dominated the area for most of the last two millenia, until about 1950-1960. At that point, sawgrass pollen declined to lower abundances than recorded elsewhere in the core, and tree pollen became much more abundant in the cores. This change reflects the vegetational response to alterations in the hydrologic system throughout much of the last century.