Fossil Pollen Analysis of Tsuga canadensis decline in Larkum Pond in Otis, Massachusetts

Fossil pollen analysis of sediment cores can provide data which is important to the reconstruction of the local flora and indicate patterns of disturbance. In this study, core samples taken from Larkum Pond in Otis, Massachusetts in February of 2007, were analyzed to identify evidence of the mid-Holocene decline of the eastern hemlock (Tsuga canadensis). Also, we will speculate as to its cause and comment on its ecological implications. It is hypothesized that there will be an observable decline of eastern hemlock across the sediment core sample depths. Analysis of the fossil pollen data show a marked decrease in the proportion of hemlock and an increase in the proportion of shade-tolerant, early-successional species such as beech and birch. Pine also showed an increase but to a lesser extent, presumably due to its shade-intolerant characteristic.