NSF-funded scientists analyzed more than 1,100 fossil pollen records to understand how ecosystems have changed since the end of the last Ice Age--some 18,000 years ago.
Hi, I'm Mo Barrow with NSF -- the U.S. National Science Foundation.
Whoa! We need to slow things down a bit! Like during the ice age, we need to do some things at a glacial pace because our impact on the environment is happening at an accelerated rate!
An international team of NSF funded scientists analyzed more than 1,100 fossil pollen records to understand how ecosystems have changed since the end of the last ice age some 18,000 years ago. Fossil pollen is a great way to measure ancient vegetation for dramatic changes.
When pollen from plants fall into nearby lakes and other bodies of water, it comes to rest in layers -- the oldest at the lake bottom and the newest closer to the surface. Scientists can identify pollen and reconstruct plant ecosystems by extracting sediment cores from the lakes.
Their findings suggest that human influence on ecosystems and landscapes began in the earliest civilizations with the rise of intensive agriculture. And as plant communities respond to human-induced climate change, the rate that ecosystems transform will continue to accelerate and may break new records yet again.
So, let's slow down -- so we can continue to smell the roses!
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