Wildlands & Woodlands Website

Highstead works to inspire curiosity and build knowledge about plants and wooded landscapes in order to enhance life, preserve nature, and advance sound stewardship practices.


Ecology Research > Paleoecology

Interns at plot

By investigating microfossils (pollen, diatoms) and other deposits (e.g. charcoal) that accumulate in calm sedimentary environments such as natural ponds and wetlands, it is possible to reconstruct changes in plant communities, climate, and disturbance processes over thousands of years. We collaborate with scientists at the Harvard Forest and Emerson College to reconstruct environmental change.

Current Projects (led by Wyatt Oswald):

• Post-glacial vegetation change in New England in response to climate change, soils, and topography

• Holocene vegetation and fire history at Umpawaug Pond in Redding, CT

Learn more:

Oswald, W.W., D. R. Foster, B. N. Shuman, E. D. Doughty, E. K. Faison, B. R. Hall, B. C. Hansen, M. Lindbladh, A. Marroquin, and S. A. Truebe. 2018. Subregional variability in the response of New England vegetation to postglacial climate change. Journal of Biogeography 45:2375-2388.

Faison, E. 2006. Extraordinary accounts of the common ragweed.  Unpublished essay submitted to Harvard University.

Faison, E.K., D.R. Foster, W.W.Oswald, E.D. Doughty, and B.C.S Hansen. 2006. Early-Holocene openlands in southern New England. Ecology 87: 2537-2547.

Oswald, W.W., E.K. Faison, D.R. Foster, E.D. Doughty, B.  Hall, and B.C.S. Hansen, 2007. Post-glacial changes in spatial patterns of vegetation across southern New England. Journal of Biogeography 34: 900-913.

Oswald, W.W., D.R. Foster, E.D. Doughty, and E.K. Faison. 2009. A record of late glacial and early-Holocene environmental and ecological change from southwestern Connecticut, USA. Journal of Quaternary Science 24: 553-556.