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Climatic control of peat erosion in a North Wales blanket mire

Authors

  • Christopher J. Ellis,

    Corresponding author
    1. Present address: Département de phytologie, Pavillon Paul-Comtois, Université Laval, Sainte-Foy, Québec, G1K 7P4, Canada
      Author for correspondence: Christopher J. Ellis Tel: +1 418 6562131 ext. 6467 Fax: +1 418 6567856 Email: chris.ellis@plg.ulaval.ca
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  • John H. Tallis

    1. School of Biological Sciences, 3.614, Stopford Building, University of Manchester, Oxford Road, Manchester, M13 9PT, UK;
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Author for correspondence: Christopher J. Ellis Tel: +1 418 6562131 ext. 6467 Fax: +1 418 6567856 Email: chris.ellis@plg.ulaval.ca

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.

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