Novus steering committee member Kendra McLauchlan and colleagues recently published a study on links between plant community composition and fire frequency in the Great Plains throughout the Holocene. The authors analyzed pollen and charcoal records from a sediment core at Fox Lake, Minnesota. The pollen record indicates a shift from oak-elm forest to grassland ~8,200 yr BP, but little change in vegetation diversity through time. Charcoal records from the core indicate changes in the amount of biomass burned, though the primary fuel remained woody biomass even after the shift to grassland ecosystem.
Commerford, J. L., B. Leys, J. R. Mueller, and K. K. McLauchlan. 2015. Great Plains vegetation dynamics in response to fire and climatic fluctuations during the Holocene at Fox Lake, Minnesota (U.S.A.). The Holocene doi: 10.1177/0959683615608691