Staff-student research project: Aging ancient upland willow carr in the Peak District literature review
Background/aims: This review of literature on dating the age of ancient willow trees in upland willow carr and investigating landscape change of the eastern Peak District revealed many articles published over many years in peer reviewed journals. The study aims to increase recognition of ancient willow carr sites in the Peak District by dating their age and inform future management strategies. As part of the partner project ‘Discovering shadow woods and investigating landscape change in the Peak District’ peat cores will be analysed to show human, environmental and vegetational history of the area. This will provide an insight into landscape change over many years.
Methodology: Sediment cores will be extracted using Russian Corers. Cores will then be processed and sampled for analysis of pollen (showing past vegetation), for beetle remains (showing past environmental conditions and landscape), for metal content (providing smelting evidence) and for selective carbon dating. Ground-penetrating radar will be applied to map out the tree root zones and veteran wood at the central point of the self-coppicing willows will be sampled for carbon dating.
Conclusions: There has been many reports published investigating pollen grains within peat cores and sedimentological remains in the Peak District. However fewer reports have been published investigating beetle remains as an environmental indicator of past conditions or metal content as an indicator of pre-industrial smelting activity. No reports were found which analysed all of these multidisciplinary aspects (Pollen grains, beetle remains and metal content of peat samples). An evident gap in research was found in dating the age of willow carr sites. This was identified not only in the Peak District – but on a national/global scale.
Key words used to search databases for literature (scholar and SHU library gateway):Hipper Sick, Totley lead bole, smelting, metal content, beetle remains, carbon dating, Leash Fen???, willow carr, peak district, eastern Derbyshire moor, pollen grains, Burbage, Ringinglow bog, UK, insect remains, Hope valley????, tree roots????, radar???, Scotland???, landscape history, ancient forest, landscape change, Holocene???
In the eastern Peak District, there has been growing interest to improve knowledge of ancient willow trees within willow carr sites by carbon dating and other indicators such as peat core analysis. This will allow the importance of the sites to be recognised and will inform future vegetation management of the Peak District and subsequently improve future biodiversity of the area. Pollen analysis of peat cores will show how the willow carr has developed over time. Identifying beetle remains will show environmental conditions of the site and metal content will improve understanding of human activity in the area. For this study external historical and archaeological evidence will be used to support findings????. In order to understand whether this project is worthwhile and has been done before a literature review was undertaken.
There are few reports on a global basis which have been published with the aim to understand and improve knowledge on the age of willow carr and their connection with ‘shadow woods’ and ancient woodland. However information can be gathered surrounding willow carr from books, and national park management strategy publications and other literature sources.
- Mast, J & Waring, G., (1996). Dendrochronological analysis of Goodding willows in Grand Canyon National Park
Mortimer, S., Turner, A., Brown, V., Fuller, R., Good, J., Bell, S., … & Ward, L. (2000). The nature conservation value of scrub in Britain. The UK Biodiversity Action Plan neglects scrub almost completely as a habitat (only woolly willow Sala lanata and juniper luniperus communis have Species Action Plans).
Peak District National Park. (2017). Dark Peak: Peak District National Park. Objectives: TO ENHANCE, RESTORE AND EXPAND WETLANDS AND RIVER CORRIDOR HABITATS (broad objectives). To enhance both the rivers and the adjacent river corridor habitats to develop a mosaic of wetlands, wet woodlands, meadows and pastures. Priority objective is to restore degraded peat bogs – therefore many aspects are disregarded as much management as they may get in other areas. Our study would provide key info regarding willow carr allowing action to be planned
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Hicks, S. (1971). Pollen-analytical evidence for the effect of prehistoric agriculture on the vegetation of North Derbyshire.
In this study Hicks (1971) analyses pollen of peat cores from six upland sites on the east moor of Derbyshire in order produce pollen diagrams. These pollen diagrams were then used to show the effect agriculture has had on vegetation in the Neolithic Age, Bronze Age, Iron Age, and Roman occupied Britain. These sites included Ringinglow Bog, Totley Moss, Leash Fen and Hipper Sick – which are all topogenous peat deposits near to Burbage valley. Pollen diagrams showed vegetation removal and deforestation to be identified in the past back to the Atlantic period. Archaeological and historical evidence have been used to draw conclusions of the relationship between vegetation cover and past human activity. For example evidence of Bronze Age ring work on Flask edge is used to help draw conclusions of human activity and corresponding impacts on vegetation in the pollen diagram. At Leash Fen, where no archaeological records emerged, samples were dated with a series of nine radiocarbon analyses to provide accuracy of dates where pollen is found. Results of this study suggest peat accumulation began in the Boreal-Atlantic Transition. This is at around 8,000 years BP. The effect of altitude on peat growth is also noted. Another interesting finding in the report is the discovery of a single radiocarbon date for the first appearance of Plantago lancealata in the Totley Moss and Hipper Sick pollen diagrams. This study has similar objectives to the project we will undertake as landscape change within the uplands is the focus. However they differ as data for and metal content, beetle remains and willow carr has not been collected by Hicks (1971). This leads to limitations. Although evidence is provided that indicates smelting activity in the area during the past has occurred for the production of lead ingots near Wirksworth during Roman occupation at around A.D 70. Therefore research for metal content in peat is useful. This study has a particularly high reputation in the field and is cited and referred to in many other studies such as Tallis & Switsur (1973) and Hutchinson & Armitage (2009).
“Clearance of the Atlantic mixed-oak forest was small scale and temporary throughout the Neolithic and Bronze Ages, and did not become extensive until the Iron Age” (Hicks, 1971)
“Up until and including the Iron Age pastoralism dominated the economy but during the Roman occupation a stimulus was given to arable cultivation” (Hicks, 1971)
“By the post-Roman-pre-Conquest period, forest clearance and soil erosion had degraded the upland soils to such an extent that a shallow peat cover was able to develop over large areas. The treeless heather moorland of today represents a culmination of this process” (Hicks, 1971)
Conway, V. (1947). Ringinglow Bog, Near Sheffield: Part I.
Conway (1947) carried out one of the first prominent studies into analysing pollen within peat on the east moor of Derbyshire. The study suggests the degradation Ringinglow Bog surface is extremely recent and states sphagnum dominance gave way around 100 years ago, with fresh bog-building sphagnum peat only 5cm below the surface (Conway, 1947). This is found to be the result of artificial drains at the eastern-end of the bog. The report has great depth on current bog conditions of 1947 at a site with close proximity to Burbage valley. Calluna valgaris, Eriophorum vaginatum and sphagnumare shown todominate vegetation cover with Eriophorum angustifolium and Deschampsia flexuosa also widespread. Results show that destruction of regional forest around Ringinglow Bog is likely to have occurred between A.D 1100 and A.D 1850 (VIII mod.). Horizons found in peat cores collected show at around 1200 B.C great increase in general wetness and pollen analysis has shown peat formation began around 6000 B.C. This is during the Boreal-Atlantic transition. On page 177, a concise table of vegetation and peat features from 6200 B.C to A.D 1946 produced from pollen analysis results can be found for the three sites on Ringinglow bog. This shows the detailed transition of likely forest clad, with Pinus dominant at 6200 B.C to Calluna or Eriophorum vaginatum dominant vegetation at A.D 1946. However the transition varies greatly depending on location of sites within Ringinglow Bog. This study is mainly limited due to its being outdated. The concept of ‘shadow woods’ and acknowledgement of willow carr is not shown in this time period and is a new insight into landscape history.
Conclusions of pollen diagrams:
1. Ringinglow Bog has a peat depth great enough to provide a detailed record of landscape changes since the Boreal-Atlantic transition (Conway, 1947).
2. At around A.D 1100 wide-scale deforestation occurred in the Ringinglow Bog area, leading to maximum depletion in the seventeenth century (Conway, 1947).
3. Mixed deciduous forest used to dominate the East Moor of Derbyshire and unforested areas were insignificant. However todays vegetation is dominated in large areas by Calluna,forming grouse moors (Conway, 1947).
Tallis, J., & Switsur, V. (1973). Studies on Southern Pennine peats.
This study expands on findings of Tallis (1964a), Tallis (1964b) and Tallis (1964c) by radiocarbon dating peat cores at varying depths at sites where pollen data from these past studies was collected. A pollen diagram was also created from Featherbed Moss blanket peat, Derbyshire. Radiocarbon datings were produced from site after compilation of the pollen diagram. This was carried out at pollen horizons and also from observed stratigraphic horizons. Another aspect that increases depth of the study is the use of data from Hicks (1971) at Leash Fen for horizons which are not available on Featherbed Moss. This leads to more interpretations to be produced. Tallis & Switsur (1973) also have used extrapolation to predict peat accumulation at Featherbed Moss past 800 B.C in figure 2. This has led to predictions as far back 3600 B.C. The report also has led to the conclusions that stratigraphy is not a reliable indicator for rate of peat accumulation, whereas macroscopic plant remains are. The discoveries of this report, like many palynological studies is hindered greatly by the absence of coleopteran fossil analysis, metal analysis and use of other methods to understand paleoenvironments. This is due to the fact that it is difficult to deduce why landscape is changing without measuring the variables that may cause these changes such as climate or human activity.
Davies, A. (2016). Late Holocene regime shifts in moorland ecosystems: high resolution data from the Pennines, UK.
Davies (2016) is one of the most up to date studies within the field of pollen analysis and carbon dating in the Peak District. Four sites were used to collect data, including Bar Brook (near to Burbage valley). The relative sensitivity of the varying moorland communities to land use throughout history has been examined in relation to late Holocene dynamics and coinciding human activity. High resolution pollen, fungal spore and charcoal data and multivariate analysis is used in the investigation. Results have provided evidence Calluna valgaris was a dominant species in the peak district in the 19th century and that Poaceae dominance occurred in the 20th century. Davies (2016) states the rapid replacement of heather by grasses may mean deep blanket peats such as at the Withens Moor site could have crossed a threshold, leading to a persistent grass dominated state. This is a trend that Davies (2016) has observed on many blanket moors in the Pennines over the past 100 to 500 years by using evidence from other studies such as Hicks (1971) and Conway (1947). Atmospheric pollution, including sulphate and nitrogen pollution and moorland drainage is mentioned briefly in the report as a cause of shift in moorland ecosystems. One aspect of the report that makes it particularly noteworthy is that it raises concerns and question on future management of moorland ecosystems, which is something the Willow carr and discovering ‘shadow woods’ project achieve. Older studies have not been as effective in this respect. One limitation of the study is no overall diversity trend has emerged. Davies (2016) states this could be due to low pollen counts
Jacobi, R., Tallis, J., & Mellars, P. (1976). The Southern Pennine Mesolithic and the ecological record.
In this report, recorded pollen data from Mesolithic sites within the Southern Pennines is used to provide an insight of landscape change using data from various well respected studies in the field. Many findings have been gathered from looking at results of a selection of past landscape research projects. Results focus on burning by Mesolithic hunting populations in the Southern Pennine uplands for over a C. 4000 year period. Consequently this burning of upland vegetation has led to permanent destruction of forest over large areas above C. 350m altitude (Jacobi, Tallis, & Mellars, 1976). The impact of altitude on vegetation is also examined showing forest or scrub growth may have occurred in the Southern Pennines by c. 5000 radiocarbon years BC at altitudes up to an estimated 500m. One of the main reason this study stands out is because it investigates evidence of carbonisation of peat as evidence of human activity and looks at the effect of burning on animal populations. Radiocarbon dating of charcoal from past studies shows increasing exploitation of the moors for over 4000 years from c. 7600 to c. 3400 radiocarbon years BC by Mesolithic hunting groups. This has a major role to play in the landscape history of the Peak District uplands and is complimentary to drawing conclusions from palynological evidence of vegetation change. This is suggested as Jacobi, Tallis and Mellars (1976) states evidence for occupation of the Southern Pennine uplands by Mesolithic hunting groups, in an altitudinal belt from c. 350m to 500m coincides in time with pollen analytical evidence for a reduced forest cover in the southern Pennine uplands above c. 350m altitude and with evidence for recurrent burning of the vegetation in the uplands. Conclusion of the study also support the idea that peat formation in the uplands resulted from transition to a wetter climate at the beginning of the Atlantic period. In figure 3 shows pollen counts at three sites at Lady Clough Moor and Featherbed Top. Jacobi, Tallis and Mellars (1976) have drawn conclusions that these pollen counts along with abundance of tree remains in peat provides evidence that local woodland was present at the time of peat accumulation.
Hutchinson, S., & Armitage, R. (2009). A Peat Profile Record of Recent Environmental Events in the South Pennines (UK).
In this study, a 4.3 metre depth peat core from the Burbage Moors was collected using a Russian corer and mineral magnetic, heavy metal and radiometric analyses was undertaken. Hutchinson & Armitage (2009) states that this has allowed pre-industrial peat condition to be revealed and the impact of recent atmospheric particulate pollution to be observed. The site was selected due to nearby historical moor burning records. However Hutchinson & Armitage (2009) states this may be seen as suboptimal due to the peat not being entirely ombrotrophic in character and interpretation is hampered by direct human impacts on the moor, including burning and drainage. A depth vs concentration profile was created (figure 3b) showing lead and other heavy metal concentrations at varying depths within the peat core. This provides a record of deposition of heavy metals. The peak concentration of lead was 1,124 MgKg-1 at approximately 50 cm depth. Concentration then decreases rapidly from 50 cm depth to present level where lead concentration is approximately 100 MgKg-1. Radiometric dating was also undertaken and has shown heavy metal profiles (Al, Ba, Sr, Fe/Mn, Cu, Pb, Zn, Cr, Ni, Ti, V) all follow a similar trend reflecting deposition of atmospherically derived particulate pollution since 1800. However the findings from the report would be much greater if radiometric dating was used at greater depths in the peat cores (further in the past than 1800). This could then potentially provide evidence of smelting in the Iron Age and Roman era. In table 2, the maximum lead concentrations in peat cores in the UK are shown from sites of many studies. Lead concentration in the Peak District is shown to be higher than any other area. The way in which Hutchinson and Armitage (2009) have analysed metal content within peat from the Peak District has been ultimately a great success. Therefore it is useful to see if similar data can be obtained from the willow carr and discovering ‘shadow woods’ research project and use it to understand landscape change. This has not been addressed in the study.
Jones, J., & Hao, J. (1993). Ombrotrophic peat as a medium for historical monitoring of heavy metal pollution. NO ACCESS TO FULL ARTICLE
Jones and Hoa (1993) examine heavy metal content of major elements (Al, Ca, K, Mg, Na) and trace metals (Cd, Cr, Cu, Fe, Mn, Ni, Pb, Zn) within two 50 cm length peat cores from Ringinglow Bog with the aim of evaluating whether heavy metal content of ombrotrophic peat samples is an accurate indicator of heavy metal pollution in the past. Analysis was undertaken using atomic adsorption spectrophotometry and in total 3,500 individual results were produced. Results show maximum lead concentration at Ringinglow Bog to be 1230 mg kg-1 and show clear evidence of industrial activities in Sheffield and Manchester effecting heavy metal concentration within peat bogs of the Peak District. The study is cautious in drawing conclusions due to the processes which influence element behaviour after deposition and movement within the peat profile, which are noted in detail. Jones and Hao (1993) state they also been able to contrast micro-environments within Ringinglow bog by comparing heavy metal concentration of two peat cores from different sites within the peat bog. This adds further depth to the study. The study is also relevant due to the thorough explanation of preparing peat samples for heavy metal analysis and conclusions have led to support the assumption of atmospheric sources being the only source of heavy metal transference to peat bogs.
Rothwell, J., Robinson, S., Evans, M., Yang, J., & Allott, T. (2005). Heavy metal release by peat erosion in the Peak District, Southern Pennines, UK.
There is a handful of studies that have been conducted in the Peak District regarding heavy metal concentration of peat and even fewer regarding how movement of heavy metal within the peat profile may effect water systems. However this study achieves this. The erosion of the blanket peat catchment at High Peak estate of the Peak District with a high metal content is reviewed and the risk of transference of heavy metals into Upper North Grain stream evaluated. The stream is a tributary the river Ashore, which eventually joins Ladybower reservoir (Rothwell, Robinson, Evans, Yang, and Allott, 2005). This is a key source of drinking water and provides evidence that it is important to understand the levels of heavy metal pollution in peat bogs to prevent water source contamination among other concerns. Maximum lead concentration at Upper North Grain was found to be 1148 mg kg-1 at a depth of 5 cm at a time period found to be the mid to late 1970s. This means that the concentration of lead is one of the highest for peat blankets globally. Rothwell, Robinson, Evans, Yang, and Allott (2005) states this exceeds by significant margins, the guideline values for contaminated land in the UK, Sweden, Netherlands and Canada. In order to collect the data for the study, a Russian corer was used in Upper North Grain to obtain a 50 cm depth peat core. Interestingly the core site was chosen due to being on a hummock and above the water table. Rothwell, Robinson, Evans, Yang, and Allott (2005) states this avoids the possibility of dissolution of magnetic constituents and ensures all mineral input into the coring site is atmospherically derived. In figure 2, the lead concentration at varying depths of the 50 cm peat core is shown. Lead concentration initially begins to rise at approximately 15 cm depth. This is dated to roughly AD 1800 by use of data comparison to Livett, Lee and Tallis (1979) and Richardson (1986). Pollen data and heavy metal analysis from these studies of peat cores of North West England peat bogs is used along with records of human activity to infer a date of atmospheric deposition.
Shotyk, W., Weiss, D., Appleby, P., Cheburkin, A., Frei, R., Gloor, M., … Van Der Knaap, W. (1998). History of Atmospheric Lead Deposition since 12,370 14C yr BP from a Peat Bog, Jura Mountains, Switzerland.
This study of the peat bog surrounding Etang de la Gruère, Jura Mountains (Switzerland) uses Weiss, Shotyk, Cheburkin, Gloor and Reese (1997) with the aim of understanding lead deposition from atmospheric sources within a peat bog from 12,370 14C yr BP until present day. This is achieved with use of the isotopic C composition of lead to separate natural and anthropogenic sources. The report is worthwhile reviewing as it is throughough and spans a large time period including the whole of the Holocene and part of the last glacial. There are no studies this detailed within the Peak District. Many palynological studies have been undertaken in close proximity to Etang de la Gruère and use used by Shotyk, Weiss, Appleby, Cheburkin, Frei, Gloor, … Van Der Knaap (1998) to predict dates at which atmospheric deposition of lead has occurred in the past. The study is also multidisciplinary using pollen data, looking at of peat accumulation and uses data from past studies to understand Pb deposition and draw conclusions. The results show at around 5,320 14C yr BP, forest clearing and agricultural tillage has led to soil erosion. This has increased lead deposition and is shown in the peat core profile. The first evidence of mining and smelting pollution in the area is also shown in the profile at 3,000 14C yr BP indicating this is the first time that lead concentration is increasing due to human activity. This was deduced by Shotyk, Weiss, Appleby, Cheburkin, Frei, Gloor, … Van Der Knaap (1998) due to an increase in lead and decrease in in Pb206/Pb207 beginning 3000 14C yr BP. From the data collected it has been estimated that in AD 1979, lead concentration was 15.7 mg/m2. This was found to be 1570 times higher than the estimate for the time period 8,030 14C yr BP to 5,320 14C yr BP of 0.01 mg/m2. This shows that the date is manipulated and presented effectively in this report and is why the conclusions drawn have great depth and reliability. In figure 2, vegetation and peat characteristics over the Holocene are briefly mentioned and also the transition of minerogenic to ombrogenic peat can be seen at 150 cm in the peat profile.
Livett, E., Lee, A., & Tallis, J. (1979). Lead, Zinc and Copper Analyses of British Blanket Peats.
This study focuses on analysing the heavy metals lead, zinc and copper from fifteen British peat blanket sites. Current surface levels were analysed, along with varying depths of the peat profile and also concentrations within vegetation. This has shown how heavy metals are incorporated into peat, how heavy metal is deposited at site from industry and allowed a time sequence of heavy-metal incorporation to be produced. Pollen examination and isotopic analysis technique has also been used to deduce rate of peat accumulation at five sites including Buxton, Featherbed Moss and Ringinglow bog. This was invaluable to the study for producing the time-sequences of heavy metal deposition. Livett, Lee, & Tallis (1979) also expands on the work of Lee & Tallis (1973) and various publications on deposition rates of atmospheric heavy metals. Results have shown that maximum surface concentration of lead from the peat samples and calculated present day deposition rates of lead are higher at Featherbed Moss and Ringinglow Bog (upland Peak District sites) than all other 13 British blanket peats in the study. Buxton and Featherbed Moss were the sites with the highest concentration of heavy metals, whereas Glenshielding had the lowest. According to Livett, Lee and Tallis (1979) this is due to the peak district sites being near to large cities (Manchester and Sheffield). On the other hand Glenshielding is remote with low surrounding population size.
Pollen diagrams were created and radiocarbon datings have shown that major forest clearance can be dated back to 1000 B.P in the Southern Pennines. Archaeological evidence was used to establish this date as well and data from Hicks (1971) at Leash Fen, Hipper Sick and Totley Moss. At Featherbed Moss, the pollen diagram shows high frequency of Plantago and Gramineae around the early medieval period. Use of historical records in upland areas has shown forest law and associated disafforestation is likely to be responsible for this (Livett, Lee & Tallis, 1979). Peat accumulation has also been examined in the report with resulting stating that the time for a 1 cm layer of peat to accumulate at Ringinglow Bog is 5.5 years, at Buxton is 19 years and Featherbed Moss is 20 years. This believed to be high in comparison to sites elsewhere.
If this report had more focus on landscape change and also used beetles to reconstruct the paleoenvironment, then it would undoubtedly be more comparable to the willow carr and discovering ‘shadow woods’ project in more respects. Evidently there is a gap for a paper focussed on landscape change in the Peak District using multidisciplinary techniques to build upon studies such as Livett, Lee, and Tallis (1979).
Kenward, H. (2004). Do Insect Remains from Historic-Period Archaeological Occupation Sites Track Climate Change in Northern England?
Kenward (2004) examines temperature change in Northern England by analysing Heteroptera and Coleoptera remains over the past two thousand years. Samples were collected at sites with archaeological significance in order to deduce whether climate change or human activity has impacted species present. Sites include South and North Yorkshire and various areas surrounding the Southern Pennines. Conclusions drawn from the study have shown temperature averages in Northern England in the 1st to 4th and 9th to 15th centuries AD were 1 – 2 °C higher than those of the mid-20th century. Within the Roman period and the 9th to 11th centuries, evidence of higher temperatures are predicted by Kenward (2004) to have had high impacts on ecosystems. This can be observed from insect remains, however if the study also included pollen analysis the findings of the report would be greatly enhanced. Table 1 shows data from 26 sites in Northern England and uses many sources to show records of Heterogaster urticae presenceover the past 2,000 years. Fossil records/deposits from Roman, Anglo-Scandinavian and post-conquest times have been used. Kenward (2004) states the results show that Heterogaster urticae was present in Yorkshire in the past and at least locally present further north. This is outside of the species 19th century and 20th century range – where H.urticae is restricted to the south of England and few are present out of this range (Kenward, 2004). This provides evidence of higher temperatures in the Northern England and potentially in surrounding areas such as the Peak District, where H.urticae may have been widespread in the past. The study also suggests H.urticae has not been affected by human activity damaging its habitats since the medieval period and climate change is a more likely factor affecting distribution. This conclusion is drawn by the use of archaeological records and subsequent human presence in the past at the sites. The study also puts forward that the use of insects to investigate landscape change has only received limited attention in the past two thousand years. This is a gap in knowledge that the willow carr and discovering ‘shadow wood’ project could help to close.
Coope, G., Lemdahl, G., Lowe, J., & Walkling, A. (1998). Temperature gradients in northern Europe during the last glacial–Holocene transition (14-9 14C kyr BP) interpreted from coleopteran assemblages.
This study uses coleopteran assemblages to reconstruct the past climate of Northern Europe in the last-glacial and early Holocene. Beetle faunas from 77 sites have been analysed covering a time period from 14.5 14C kyr BP to 9.0 14C kyr BP. The data set contains 433 species. This has provided an insight of temperature and climate in the past over a large area. Paleotemperatures have been produced using a mutual climatic range method (MCR) to interpret quaternary coleopteran fossil assemblages. However much of the results such as the last glacial-Holocene transition have been shown to differ to paleotemperature reconstructions using pollen data and diagrams. This is a limitation of using only one technique to analyse environmental change. Sites used to collect coleopteran fossil records of Northern England with relatively close proximity to the Peak District include Red Moss, Gransmoor, Tadcaster and Messingham. In table 2, the mutual climatic range values (°C) for these sites can be seen from 14.5 14C kyr BP to 9.0 14C kyr BP. This is particularly useful to understand likely Peak District temperatures in the past.
Figure 4 shows isotherms and temperature ranges across Northern Europe and the Peak District from 14.5 14C kyr BP to 9.0 14C kyr BP. Coope, Lemdahl, Lowe, and Walkling (1998) state that after the late-glacial thermal maximum (13.0 to 12.5 14C kyr BP) there was sudden cooling in the British isles of 3-4°C leading to development of Betula woodland in Britain. This deduced from pollen data of past studies, where Betula pollen curves rise in horizons of the pollen diagrams many sites in Britain and coleoptera show a climatic deterioration. Results of the coleopteran data also show climatic cooling in the younger dryas in Britain. This is indicated by increased cold-adapted species of beetle in the North and lowland Britain. However Coope, Lemdahl, Lowe and Walkling (1998) state that there are issues with the study. These include not having a coleopteran sequence available for whole period of the last glacial-Holocene transition and the reliability of earlier radiocarbon sampling techniques being questionable.
Gillingham, P., Palmer, S., Huntley, B., Kunin, W., Chipperfield, J., & Thomas, C. (2012). The relative importance of climate and habitat in determining the distributions of species at different spatial scales: a case study with ground beetles in Great Britain.
This study examines beetle distribution within Great Britain in relation to climatic conditions and habitat/vegetation coverage. Twenty beetle species from the Carabidae at three sites including the High Peak area of the Peak District National Park were sampled by Gillingham, Palmer, Huntley, Kunin, Chipperfield and Thomas (2012) and data from other sources was also used to draw conclusions. Few reports have been published about beetles and climate and even fewer have taken recordings of the past abundance of beetles and probable landscape of the time. This report does not look at historical patterns, although is particularly useful to improve understanding of present species. The most abundant species of the High Peak region was found to be Pterostichus diligens, with 139 counted and 19 different species of Carabidae were found altogether in the area. The study aims to assess relative importance of microclimate and non-climatic factors at differential spatial scales and impact on beetle distribution. This has shown that within the Peak District beetles are a useful indicator of temperature and habitat. This is useful to predict past landscape of the area. However the report does not look at past beetle species present in Great Britain and has not taken into account vegetation of the High Peak area at great depth.
Sroka, K., & Finch, O. (2006). Ground beetle diversity in ancient woodland remnants in north-western Germany (Coleoptera, Carabidae).
Sroka and Finch (2006) investigate the distribution and abundance of ground beetle species (Coleoptera carabidae) within ancient woodland of north-western Germany. This is a particularly interesting study due the focus of the report on ancient woodland. Ninety pitfall traps in ten stands of mature oak-beech and oak-hornbeam forest were used to collect 47 species of beetle. Such species found in the study could potentially be found within the Peat records of the Peat District in ‘shadow wood’ areas and provide evidence of past ancient woodland. The forest stands used in the study all had different features and vegetation cover allowing a range of beetle to be collected that represents varying ancient woodland habitat. Altogether 10,676 individuals representing 47 species were identified. Eleven of the species had a high presence in all areas and four of the species were found to represent 62.9% all beetles in the traps. The most abundant species were found to be A.parallelepipedus, P.niger, N.brevicollis and P.oblongopunctatus. Notably two relict species (C.glabratus and A.parallelus) were recorded within three of the ten plots with C.glabratrus present in 27 of the 90 pitfalls traps and A.parallelus present in 17 traps.
Howard, A. (2005). The contribution of geoarchaeology to understanding the environmental history and archaeological resources of the Trent Valley, U.K.
In this study Howard (2005) aims to reveal the landscape history of Trent valley from the late Devensian to the Holocene and A.D 1900. This has led to the production of a detailed report of important events and factors determining the areas landscape history including climate, human activity, vegetation change and natural processes. This was achieved using palynological, beetle and archaeological records from past studies. The river Trent has tributaries which start in the uplands of the Peak District. Archaeological records are used extensively in the study to explain human impact on the landscape and studies relating to past metal work evidence in the Iron Age and Roman age Britain are included in the paper. There is also notable data on the past distribution of willow trees in the Trent valley area throughout the report in palynological records. There is also reference to studies which use dendrochronology and radiocarbon dating techniques on oak tree trunks to create paleoenvironmental information of Newark. However the paper is particularly worthwhile reviewing due to beetle analysis and associated past climate change inference along with the use of pollen analysis data to understand landscape change. Howard (2005) uses many studies which have used coleopteran remains to predict past climate of Trent valley and uses a collection of data to draws conclusions. Results from coleopteran assemblages show temperatures at Hemington Quarry at around 13,180 ± 250 yr BP to be between on a yearly average between -6°C and -10°C with winter temperatures of -20°C. The species found at Hemington quarry at this time period are today limited to habitats with subarctic conditions. This provides evidence there was a cold climate in the past. Pollen data in the study is used to compliment the coleoptera assemblages and ultimately shows landscape change resulting from climate changes.
Brown, A. (1998). The paleoecology of Alnus (alder) and the Postglacial history of floodplain vegetation. Pollen percentage and influx data from the West Midlands, United Kingdom. New phytologist, 110(3). 425-436. doi:10.1111/j.1469-8137.1988.tb00280.x
Conway, V. (1947). Ringinglow Bog, Near Sheffield: Part I. Historical. Journal of Ecology, 34(1). 149-181. doi:10.2307/2256766
Coope, G., Lemdahl, G., Lowe, J., & Walkling, A. (1998). Temperature gradients in northern Europe during the last glacial–Holocene transition (14-9 14C kyr BP) interpreted from coleopteran assemblages. Journal of Quaternary Science, 13(5). 419-433. doi:10.1002/(SICI)1099-1417(1998090)13:5<419::AID-JQS410>3.0.CO;2-D
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