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Keywords:

  • Pollen analysis;
  • Flandrian vegetational history;
  • St Kilda

Summary

Pollen-stratigraphic data supported by four radiocarbon dates are presented from a site on Hirta in the St Kilda archipelago, western Scotland. The pollen spectra in the basal sediments reflect an open tundra environment and are considered to be of Loch Lomond (Younger Dryas) Stadial age. Although no evidence of early Flandrian vegetation is preserved in the stratigraphy, the middle and upper levels of the profile contain a record of landscape changes throughout the middle and late Flandrian. During the period from about 6000 B.P. to the present, wood and scrub cover on the island was minimal and the vegetation consisted of a mosaic of grassland and heathland communities. Changes in the composition of the vegetation, involving in particular the role of maritime plant communities, are discussed principally in terms of regional climatic changes in the north-west Atlantic province.