Climate Change and Human Impact on the Landscape: Studies in by H. J. B. Birks (auth.), F. M. Chambers (eds.)

By H. J. B. Birks (auth.), F. M. Chambers (eds.)

I am happy to provide this quantity of invited stories and learn case reports, produced to mark the retirement of Professor A. G. Smith - one of many best researchers in Holocene palaeoecology. A. G. Smith took his first measure on the collage of Sheffield, graduating in 1951 with a firstclass honours measure in Botany. His doctorate used to be provided in 1956 for a examine in late-Quaternary vege­ tational background, dependent within the Sub-Department of Quaternary learn on the college of Cambridge, lower than the supervision of the overdue Sir Harry Godwin, FRS. He then researched and taught at Queen's college, Belfast, from 1954, best the Nuffield Quaternary learn Unit there, turning into Co-Director of the Palaeoecology Laboratory from 1964. He used to be appointed Professor and Head of the dept of Botany (later, Plant technology) at college collage, Cardiff, in 1973, and retired from the college of natural and utilized Biology on the renamed collage of Wales collage, Cardiff, in August 1991. even though his important pursuits were keen on the post-glacial environmental heritage of the British Isles, Professor Smith has considerably in­ fluenced many researchers in other places of their interpretation of organic and different proof for human amendment of the ordinary environment.

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Additional resources for Climate Change and Human Impact on the Landscape: Studies in palaeoecology and environmental archaeology

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How fast did the climate change at the end of the late-glacial? How quickly do species migrate? How much lag is there between vegetation and climate? We now need to be able to look at rates of change and we need to be able to assess time differences of a few centuries rather than the half millennium that could be resolved by the radiocarbon dates generally available up to now. Let us look at how this might be achieved. 6 A HYPOTHETICAL PROJECT Suppose a pollen analyst wishes to determine the time difference between the decline of pine in the lowlands and highlands of a particular region of the British Isles.

T· I FjTR SL SC SG AH BMNFATBTRBGCLMBG. -,J SL WG 8B ,'I"T 8000 + 1/ 7000 ! -!. BRrfAi EMPIRICAL ALNUS LIMIT +-- I BS _L____~_________________________ , the dates for the elm decline are taken as multiple estimates of a synchronous event, the standard deviation of the dates is ± 290 years. For the Irish samples the standard deviation is ± 234 years. Fig. 2 Distribution of radiocarbon dates for conventional pollen zone boundaries in the British Isles (from Smith & Pilcher, 1973). If r f- ~ f- 6000 f-5000 THE ULMUS DECLINE L-----________________________~________________ -I DATES BP r 4000 The questioning phase extracting a 'fine particulate' fraction of peat « 250~) that was a compromise between the ideal of dating the pollen grains and the practicalities of sample size.

G. Pilcher, 1969; Goddard, 1971; Pilcher, 1973; Holland, 1975; Pilcher & Smith, 1979; Pilcher & Larmour, 1982; Francis, 1987). The results of this approach were very encouraging. Many of the bogs and lakes showed uniform deposition rates (Fig. 1) and much use was made of dates interpolated from deposition-rate curves rather than individual date determinations. By 1973 there were sufficient radiocarbondated pollen diagrams from Ireland for a first synthesis to be attempted along the lines of Godwin's 1960 paper (Smith & Pilcher, 1973).

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