The Boreal period refers the period from about 7000-6000 BC, following the most recent Ice Age (more strictly, the Last Glacial Maximum approximately 20,000 years ago). It also refers to European climate regime during that period when temperatures continued to rise, e.g. the colder seasons of the year gradually became milder (although probably with some dry and frosty winters) and the summers became generally warmer than today. It was preceded by the Pre-Boreal period and followed by the Atlantic period.
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The Boreal period is also part of the current geological epoch known as Holocene which began about 11,700 years ago (~9700 BC) and continues up to the present.
Divisions of the Holocene
The principal divisions of the Holocent era are as follows:
- Pre-Boreal period (8300 to 7000 BC)
- Boreal period (7000 to 6000 BC)
- Atlantic period (6000-3000 BC)
- Sub-Boreal period (3000 to 1000-500 BC)
- Sub-Atlantic period (1000-500 BC to Present)
The warming of this period led to northward advances of temperate forests in Europe and North America, supplanting dominant conifers of the early Pre-Boreal. Marker species such as Heather (Calluna vulgaris) are used to typify the ecosystem of Northern Europe in pollen core analyses.
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