Holocene environmental change: contributions from the peatland archive

Chambers, Frank M ORCID: 0000-0002-0998-2093 and Charman, Dan J (2004) Holocene environmental change: contributions from the peatland archive. Holocene, 14 (1). pp. 1-6. doi:10.1191/0959683604hl684ed

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Peatlands provide a widespread terrestrial archive of Holocene environmental change. The taphon omy of peat is relatively simple, the range of evidence and proxies is wide, and dating methods have become more accurate and precise, such that the potential temporal resolution of records is high. Although long estab lished, the use of peatlands as archives of Holocene change has undergone phases of decline and resurgence. Here, the variable exploitation of the peat archive is explored, and recent developments in peatland science as applied to Holocene records are reviewed with reference to the collection of papers in this Special Issue of The Holocene, which are arranged in four key themes: (1) records of Holocene climatic change; (2) peatland dynamics; (3) carbon accumulation; and (4) implications for conservation and management. The changing acceptance of peatlands as archives of Holocene climatic change is attributed to developments in understanding of the peatland system and geographical differences in the history of Holocene research. Recent developments in biological and geochemical proxies combined with improvements in chronological techniques have resulted in renewed interest in peatland palaeoclimate records. Peatlands are an important global carbon pool and it is clear that climate has influenced the efficiency of long-term carbon sequestration by these systems. Climate has also had an impact on the biodiversity and condition of peatlands, which creates problems in discerning cause and effect in sites affected by human activities, and in targeting remedial management. It is concluded that particular strengths of the archive are the current diversity of peat-based palaeoenvironmental research and the potential for multiproxy analyses to be applied to a range of research issues. Mire-based investigations can complement research in other realms, and are deserving of greater attention from researchers of other archives.

Item Type: Article
Article Type: Article
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GE Environmental Sciences
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > School of Education and Science
Research Priority Areas: Place, Environment and Community
Depositing User: Anne Pengelly
Date Deposited: 06 Jan 2015 15:47
Last Modified: 31 Aug 2023 08:59
URI: https://eprints.glos.ac.uk/id/eprint/1167

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