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Ecological stability in a changing world? Reassessment of the palaeoenvironmental history of Cuatrociénegas, Mexico

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Previous work on the palaeoenvironmental history of Cuatrociénegas, Coahuila, Mexico, suggests that the local environments of the basin have been relatively stable since the last glacial period. Reassessment of the palaeoenvironmental record from Cuatrociénegas, combined with the analysis of a glacial-age packrat midden (∼ 16,900 cal yrbp), shows that this region has experienced substantial climatic and ecological changes during the Late Quaternary. Woodlands occurred near the valley floor until ca. 11,000 years ago, migrating upslope as climate warmed. The apparent lack of change in the flora of the basin floor may be attributable to high soil salinity. This edaphic control led to earlier interpretations that the region was environmentally stable.
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Keywords: Biodiversity; Chihuahuan Desert; Mexico; conservation; endemism; palaeoecology

Document Type: Correspondence

Publication date: 2008-01-01

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