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Appears in Collections:Biological and Environmental Sciences Journal Articles
Peer Review Status: Refereed
Title: Sensing small-scale human activity in the palaeoecological record: fine spatial resolution pollen analyses from Glen Affric, northern Scotland
Author(s): Davies, Althea
Tipping, Richard
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Keywords: fine-resolution pollen analysis
spatial resolution
vegetation history
land-use history
pollen source area
anthropogenic activity
vegetation mosaics
Scottish Highlands
Issue Date: Mar-2004
Date Deposited: 23-Jan-2013
Citation: Davies A & Tipping R (2004) Sensing small-scale human activity in the palaeoecological record: fine spatial resolution pollen analyses from Glen Affric, northern Scotland. Holocene, 14 (2), pp. 233-245.
Abstract: This paper examines the importance of palynological site selection criteria, speci"cally basin size, for the detection of vegetation mosaics and small- or local-scale human activity within a spatially diverse, mosaic landscape. Using a site selection strategy which recognizes landscape patchiness, pollen analyses from three small peat basins (10-56 m diameter) in an open, exposed upland valley (greater than 250 m OD) provide records which are sensitive to local vegetation mosaics and small-scale, localized agriculture. The results indicate c. 4000 14C years (4400 cal. years) of land use, with spatial and temporal variations in the valley. Contrasts between the sequences suggest that local pollen production remains an important component of the pollen rain deposited in small peat basins, even in open environments; this is especially true of palynological‘agricultural indicators'. By comparison, sites with regional pollen source areas underestimate the spatial diversity of the upland landscape, and are insensitive to small-scale human activity in an environment where the fragmentary distribution of soils suitable for agriculture favoured a small-scale, dispersed pattern of farming. It is therefore essential to match the spatial resolution of pollen records with the grain size or scale of variations in the environment under investigation in order to sense the scale of mosaics in vegetation and agriculture within patchy landscapes.
DOI Link: 10.1191/0959683604hl701rp
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