p. 453. Forest origins
- Jaboury Ghazoul
The origins of forests lie in the evolution of a key innovation some 400 million years ago (Mya): water-conducting canals stiffened with lignin that provided structural support allowing early small and prostrate plants to increase their size and stand erect. ‘Forest origins’ describes the evolutionary development of forests from the first forests dating back to the Devonian (385 Mya), through the widespread Carboniferous forest (359–299 Mya), the period of transition at the Permian–Triassic boundary (280–250 Mya), and the impact of the Quaternary Ice Ages, to our modern forests, which can be traced from the end of the last glacial period, some ten to twelve thousand years ago through the Holocene.