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Keywords:

  • Flandrian;
  • pollen analysis;
  • acidification;
  • succession;
  • allogenic

summary

Palaeoecological investigations have been carried out at Wood Fen including pollen and macrofossil analysis. The vegetational history is related to other Fenland sites and is dated by radiocarbon. The base of the vegetational record is dominated by Quercus, Tilia, Corylus/Myrica, Taxus and Ulmus pollen, envisaged as components of the pre-fen woodland. A rise in the water table resulted in the accumulation of peat which has been correlated with the deposition of a marine/brackish clay (‘fen clay’) in the west of the basin dated at between 4150 BP and 3800 BP. A rise in the acidophilous flora occurred at 3615 BP represented by a change from monocotyledonous to Sphagnum peat and subsequent colonisation by Pinus. Loss–on–ignition data suggests that the colonization by pine was interrupted by a brief flooding episode and subsequently terminated by a major rise in the regional water level with an inferred date of between 3300 BP and 3000 BP, based on comparison with other sites. The high water table probably prevented development to raised bog although an acidophilous flora persisted until a return to eutrophic alder carr at the top of the profile.

The nature of the autogenic succession and acidification is discussed and the chronostratigraphic relationships of allogenic influences are considered.