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The palaeoecology of human impact in the New Forest

The palaeoecology of human impact in the New Forest
The palaeoecology of human impact in the New Forest
An investigation was carried out into the role of human impact on natural vegetation development within the New Forest, southern England. Palaeoenvironmental records have been obtained from nine valley mire deposits and collectively cover the last 10,000 years. Pollen and charcoal analyses were the main proxy techniques applied, in association with chronologies provided by spheroidal carbonaceous particles (SCP) analysis and radiocarbon dating.

Human impact was identified dating from the Mesolithic onwards. Fire was found to have played an important role in the development and composition of early Holocene woodland, particularly in relation to the abundance of Vinus sjlvestm and yilnusglutinosa. In addition to fire, other disturbance patterns have been identified from early Holocene woodland environments, including cycles between open and closed woodland canopies. The arrival of Vagus sylvestris in southern Britain has been reviewed. New data indicate it arrived 8000 years ago but was unable to compete and gain dominance without significant human intervention. This is in contrast with the current view of its arrival in southern Britain only 3000 years ago. The timing of heathland development and expansion was asynchronous, ranging from
the early Holocene through to the Roman period. This contrasts with the previous view that heathland formation was predominantiy due to Bronze Age activity. The British Lime Decline is reviewed and found to have a variety of driving factors, although anthropogenic activity was the principal influence. In southern Britain most declines are found to date between the late Neolithic and middle Bronze Age. In the New Forest, Roman activities associated with the pottery industry are linked with clearance and woodland management. Active coppicing of Corylus avellana possibly occurred in one of the pottery production areas. Records from two sites. Church Moor and Barrow Moor, suggest continuous woodland cover for the entire Holocene. Within this environment human intervention and management are identifiable, including coppicing, timber extraction, and the planting and natural regeneration of softwood and hardwood trees. The modern New Forest woodlands reflect a true cultural landscape that owes its current status to a unique history of human intervention during the Holocene.
University of Southampton
Grant, Michael James
b8547a43-ae92-4148-9208-4287a456e9da
Grant, Michael James
b8547a43-ae92-4148-9208-4287a456e9da
Barber, Keith E
83d1acae-326d-4cb5-94b6-3d1dc78d64e9

Grant, Michael James (2005) The palaeoecology of human impact in the New Forest. University of Southampton, Doctoral Thesis, 386pp.

Record type: Thesis (Doctoral)

Abstract

An investigation was carried out into the role of human impact on natural vegetation development within the New Forest, southern England. Palaeoenvironmental records have been obtained from nine valley mire deposits and collectively cover the last 10,000 years. Pollen and charcoal analyses were the main proxy techniques applied, in association with chronologies provided by spheroidal carbonaceous particles (SCP) analysis and radiocarbon dating.

Human impact was identified dating from the Mesolithic onwards. Fire was found to have played an important role in the development and composition of early Holocene woodland, particularly in relation to the abundance of Vinus sjlvestm and yilnusglutinosa. In addition to fire, other disturbance patterns have been identified from early Holocene woodland environments, including cycles between open and closed woodland canopies. The arrival of Vagus sylvestris in southern Britain has been reviewed. New data indicate it arrived 8000 years ago but was unable to compete and gain dominance without significant human intervention. This is in contrast with the current view of its arrival in southern Britain only 3000 years ago. The timing of heathland development and expansion was asynchronous, ranging from
the early Holocene through to the Roman period. This contrasts with the previous view that heathland formation was predominantiy due to Bronze Age activity. The British Lime Decline is reviewed and found to have a variety of driving factors, although anthropogenic activity was the principal influence. In southern Britain most declines are found to date between the late Neolithic and middle Bronze Age. In the New Forest, Roman activities associated with the pottery industry are linked with clearance and woodland management. Active coppicing of Corylus avellana possibly occurred in one of the pottery production areas. Records from two sites. Church Moor and Barrow Moor, suggest continuous woodland cover for the entire Holocene. Within this environment human intervention and management are identifiable, including coppicing, timber extraction, and the planting and natural regeneration of softwood and hardwood trees. The modern New Forest woodlands reflect a true cultural landscape that owes its current status to a unique history of human intervention during the Holocene.

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Published date: 1 November 2005

Identifiers

Local EPrints ID: 444030
URI: http://eprints.soton.ac.uk/id/eprint/444030
PURE UUID: cf0aa45b-0e85-45d0-8e54-51be51a9c93d

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Date deposited: 23 Sep 2020 16:30
Last modified: 23 Sep 2020 16:30

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Contributors

Author: Michael James Grant
Thesis advisor: Keith E Barber

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