Complex hydroseral vegetation succession and 'dryland' pollen signals: a case study from northwest Scotland

Bunting, M. Jane; Tipping, Richard
January 2004
Holocene;Jan2004, Vol. 14 Issue 1, p53
Academic Journal
Pollen assemblages from sediment systems developed in response to changing sea level provide potentially valuable archives of local landscape dynamics in the coastal zone. Changes in wetland vegetation structure associated with the successional transition from saline to freshwater communities, and subsequent terrestrialization, however, will have marked effects on the palynological signal from surrounding dry land communities by altering the taphonomic properties of the pollen-recruiting system. We present data from one such system, a coastal wetland on the Coigach Peninsula in northwest Scotland, focusing here on reconstructing the hydroseral processes of wetland development, and how they affect the interpretation of the dry pollen signal. This contribution highlights the often-unacknowledged ambiguities inherent in reconstructing past environments from complex sedimentary systems, and outlines strategies for clarifying them.


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