Tir a’ Mhachair, Tir nan Loch? Climate change scenarios for Scottish Machair systems: a wetter future

Angus, S. and Hansom, J. D. (2006) Tir a’ Mhachair, Tir nan Loch? Climate change scenarios for Scottish Machair systems: a wetter future. In: Angus, S. and Ritchie, W. (eds.) Sand Dune Machair 4. Aberdeen Institute for Coastal Science and Management: Aberdeen, pp. 29-36.

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Publisher's URL: http://www.snh.gov.uk/docs/B472250.pdf

Abstract

Climate change scenarios for NW Scotland and the Western Isles envisage a combination of rising sea level, increased winter precipitation, and increased frequency and severity of winter storms. The flat, low-lying machair lands of the Uists are thus particularly vulnerable, not only from marine overtopping of coastal dune ridges, but also from inland flooding and restricted drainage, which may enhance the duration and area of seasonal standing waters within the machair lands. The drainage network of the Uist machairs is a legacy of historic drainage of a more extensive loch network, which now forms an intricately balanced complex of linked water bodies exhibiting a wide range of pH and salinity. Any future change in water levels would impose significant environmental shifts. The conservation importance of machair is significantly augmented by a pattern of rotational cultivation that largely employs traditional methods and provides species-rich fallows. This tradition is already under economic threat, and increased flooding could have far-reaching consequences for both agriculture and wildlife. The Uist machair systems have a range of inter-dependent, multiple-interest international conservation designations and the vulnerability of these is examined in a context that incorporates the vital human dimension.

Item Type:Book Sections
Status:Published
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Hansom, Dr Jim
Authors: Angus, S., and Hansom, J. D.
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > School of Geographical and Earth Sciences
Publisher:Aberdeen Institute for Coastal Science and Management

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