Can we characterise 'openness' in the Holocene palaeoenvironmental record? Modern analogue studies of insect faunas and pollen spectra from Dunham Massey deer park and Epping Forest, England

Smith, D., Whitehouse, N. , Bunting, M. J. and Chapman, H. (2010) Can we characterise 'openness' in the Holocene palaeoenvironmental record? Modern analogue studies of insect faunas and pollen spectra from Dunham Massey deer park and Epping Forest, England. Holocene, 20(2), pp. 215-229. (doi: 10.1177/0959683609350392)

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Abstract

This paper examines the degree to which tree-associated Coleoptera (beetles) and pollen could be used to predict the degree of ‘openness’ in woodland. The results from two modern insect and pollen analogue studies from ponds at Dunham Massey, Cheshire and Epping Forest, Greater London are presented. We explore the reliability of modern pollen rain and sub-fossil beetle assemblages to represent varying degrees of canopy cover for up to 1000 m from a sampling site. Modern woodland canopy structure around the study sites has been assessed using GIS-based mapping at increasing radial distances as an independent check on the modern insect and pollen data sets. These preliminary results suggest that it is possible to use tree-associated Coleoptera to assess the degree of local vegetation openness. In addition, it appears that insect remains may indicate the relative intensity of land use by grazing animals. Our results also suggest most insects are collected from within a 100—200 m radius of the sampling site. The pollen results suggest that local vegetation and density of woodland in the immediate area of the sampling site can have a strong role in determining the pollen signal.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Whitehouse, Dr Nicki
Authors: Smith, D., Whitehouse, N., Bunting, M. J., and Chapman, H.
College/School:College of Arts > School of Humanities > Archaeology
Journal Name:Holocene
Publisher:SAGE Publications
ISSN:0959-6836
ISSN (Online):1477-0911
Published Online:10 December 2009

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