Forest fires and insects: Palaeoentomological research from a subfossil burnt forest

Whitehouse, N.J. (2000) Forest fires and insects: Palaeoentomological research from a subfossil burnt forest. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 164(1-4), pp. 231-246. (doi: 10.1016/S0031-0182(00)00188-7)

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Abstract

The role of fire within Pinus mire ecosystems is explored by focusing on a palaeoentomological investigation of the extensive burnt fossil forest preserved within the basal deposits of the raised mires of Thorne and Hatfield Moors, Humberhead Levels, eastern England. Remains of charred tree macrofossils (roots, stumps and trunks) are widely distributed across both sites, mainly comprising Pinus and Betula. Evidence from this research and elsewhere suggests fires were a common event on Pinus mires, and may indicate that such episodes played an important role in the development of raised bogs. A fire-loving (pyrophilous) insect fauna appears to have been attracted to the burnt areas, and the decline and extirpation in Britain of a number of pyrophilous species (e.g. Stagetus borealis Isrealsson) suggests the former importance of this type of habitat within British Pinus mire systems. The lack of consideration given to the role of natural fires within the British landscape is questioned, and the interpretation of charcoal within mire deposits as a possible anthropogenic indicator is highlighted as an area that would benefit from some reconsideration.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Whitehouse, Dr Nicki
Authors: Whitehouse, N.J.
College/School:College of Arts > School of Humanities > Archaeology
Journal Name:Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology
Publisher:Elsevier
ISSN:0031-0182
ISSN (Online):1872-616X
Published Online:13 November 2000

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