Over the last similar to 350 ka, changes in the composition of vegetation on New Zealand (inferred from pollen analysis of the upper 40 m of DSDP Site 594 at similar to 2.4 ka sample intervals) reflect regional climatic variations which appear synchronous with implied variations in glacier fluctuation and in global climatostratigraphy described from sedimentary and oxygen isotope records from the same samples (Nelson er nl., 1985). Pollen assemblages from Isotope Stages 1, 5e, 7a, 7b and 9 are distinguished by conifer and broadleaf forest taxa which vary in composition between the last four interglacials, suggesting significant differences in precipitation, temperature, and/or migration rates. Glacial pollen assemblages, which imply the expansion of herbland and decline in forest components, show less Variation and generally indicate comparatively cool conditions on the east coast of South Island. Interstadial vegetation is composed of a mosaic of shrubland/herbland vegetation. The close correspondence between variations in the amplitude and timing of these continuous records of forest development in the changing vegetation of South Island, New Zealand, and oxygen isotope climatostratigraphy supports previous suggestions that Late Quaternary southern and northern hemisphere climatic fluctuations were essentially synchronous.
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