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Keywords:

  • blanket mire;
  • climate change;
  • erosion;
  • woodland clearance;
  • peat humification;
  • Racomitrium lanuginosum

Summary

  • • 
    This study investigates the palaeoecology of a hummock-and-hollow complex from a partially eroded upland blanket mire at the Migneint, north Wales, UK.
  • • 
    Three peat cores were collected and analysed for pollen and botanical macrofossils, two for peat humification and a third was radiocarbon-dated. In the interpretation of the palaeoecological record particular attention was paid to the ecology of the moss Racomitrium lanuginosum.
  • • 
    We delimit two periods in the development of the hummock-hollow complex: an earlier period of climatically controlled blanket-mire development; and a later period of mire erosion (initiated between c. 2000 and 1350 Cal. year BP) when ‘natural’ climatically controlled mire development was modified by excessive drying of the mire surface.
  • • 
    The data support recent studies in suggesting that the development of British blanket mires is sensitive to climate change. However, climatically controlled blanket-mire development appears to have been pre-empted at the Migneint by the development of the erosion-complex, the initiation of which coincides with the zenith of an extensive deforestation during the Late Bronze Age, Iron Age and Romano-British periods.