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Conclusions

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Pollen assemblages from sediment cores collected in the ridge and slough landscape of the Florida Everglades record their sensitivity to natural and anthropogenic change. Ridges and the transition zone communities are dynamic, while sloughs exhibit little variability in community composition. Climate fluctuations to drier conditions have served as triggers for ridge expansion, enhancing differences within the ridge and slough system. However, ridges and sloughs have been distinctive since at least 2,700 yr BP. This research demonstrates the rapid rate of vegetation change in the ridge and slough landscape in response to compartmentalization, and its resilience in the face of natural climatic changes indicates that degraded ridge and slough sites possess the potential to revert to their pre-drainage states.

Acknowledgements

This research is supported by the USGS South Florida Priority Ecosystem Studies Program. We are extremely grateful to the South Florida Water Management District (SFWMD) for providing helicopter access to isolated sites. Christopher McVoy (SFWMD) provided key guidance in site selection as well as field assistance. We thank Thomas Sheehan, Bryan Landacre, David Korejwo, and Andrew Lavenburg for assistance with field and laboratory work. William Orem and Lynn Wingard provided constructive comments on earlier versions of the manuscript.

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