Holocene vegetational and environmental history at Loch Lang, South Uist, Western Isles, Scotland

K. D. BENNETT*, J. A. FOSSITT, M. J. SHARP, V. R. SWITSUR

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

A Holocene record of pollen, charcoal, magnetic susceptibility and sediment chemistry from South Uist, Western Isles, is described and discussed. The vegetation of eastern South Uist included areas of woodland over as much as half of the available landscape during the early postglacial. This woodland was dominated by Betula and Corylus, but Quercus, Ulmus, Alum glutinosa and Fraxinus excelsior were also present. The status of Pinus sylvestris is uncertain. Quercus, Ulmus and A. glutinosa are now extinct as native trees in the Western Isles. During the later half of the Holocene (from about 4000 BP), woodland declined, possibly as a result of the use of hill land as grazing. Blanket peat vegetation, which had begun to spread from about 5500 BP, became the dominant feature of the landscape as the woodland areas decreased. The physical and chemical data from Loch Lang sediments suggest that little erosion of soils took place until about 550 years ago, when there was a marked increase, possibly attributable to increasing grazing pressure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)281-298
Number of pages18
JournalNew Phytologist
Volume114
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1990

Keywords

  • Holocene
  • radiocarbon dating
  • sediment chemistry
  • vegetation history
  • Western Isles

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