Testing the integrity of fine spatial resolution palaeoecological records: Microcharcoal data from near-duplicate peat profiles from the North York Moors, UK

J. B. Innes, J. J. Blackford, I. G. Simmons

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

36 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Microcharcoal data which cover the millennium preceding the Ulmus Decline from near-replicate peat profiles 30 cm apart are presented from North Gill, an intensively studied upland spring-head site in north-east England with an established detailed palaeoecological record. The Ulmus Decline at this site has been consistently dated to ca. 4700 14C years BP. The microcharcoal records from these two very closely adjacent points, which must have had virtually identical microcharcoal source areas, are assessed for their degrees of similarity and variability at 1 cm vertical sampling intervals, in an investigation which parallels a previous comparative pollen study of the two profiles. The major trends and frequency peaks and troughs of the twin microcharcoal curves were found to correspond well, suggesting that microcharcoal records from small peat mires within forested catchments have fine spatial integrity, are reproducible and can be interpreted securely as reliable records of fire history in their small source areas. Much variation occurred at the level of individual spectra within coeval zones which must record the same fire history and ecology however, producing differently shaped microcharcoal curves. While the record of major trends will be accurate, therefore, too precise an interpretation of microcharcoal data at this temporal scale may not be justified. Micro-spatial variations in frequencies of fungal spores associated with local burning are also presented and evaluated.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)295-307
Number of pages13
JournalPalaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology
Volume214
Issue number4
Early online date8 Oct 2004
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 25 Nov 2004

Keywords

  • Fine spatial resolution palynology
  • Fire
  • Late Mesolithic
  • Microcharcoal
  • North York Moors
  • Peat

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Earth-Surface Processes
  • Palaeontology

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