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Vegetation change on Papa Stour, Shetland, Scotland: a response to coastal evolution and human interference?

Whittington, Graeme, Edwards, Kevin J.
TheHolocene 1993 v.3 no.1 pp. 54-62
anthropogenic activities, coasts, grasslands, grazing, habitats, islands, landscapes, palynology, pollen, sand, spores, Scotland
The first palynological and related sedimentological studies from Papa Stour, Shetland are presented and supplement the limited data available for the study of Holocene vegetation change from the Northern Isles of Scotland. Two pollen sites were located on an isthmus which has experienced the marked influences of waterlevel changes, inundation by blown shell sand, and probable grazing and arable activity. In spite of the unpromising, calcareous nature of the mineral materials at the sites, very rich suites of pollen and spore taxa were recovered including those of taxa now absent from, or rare in the islands. The assemblages indicate a strong interplay between two major habitat types, maritime heath and grassland. In addition, the sites demonstrate the effects of intermittent pool formation. The study shows that the vegetational and geomorphological landscapes of the study area are both dynamic and closely linked.