Bibliography: Reconstruction of Fire History in the United Kingdom

Reconstruction of Fire History in the United Kingdom

The following bibliography has been published by Colin Legg, Institute of Ecology and Resource Management, The University of Edinburgh, Darwin Building, King’s Buildings, Mayfield Road, Edinburgh, EH9 3JU, Scotland:

Edwards K.J., Wittington G., and Hirons K.R. (1995). The relationship between fire and long-term wet heath development in South Uist, Outer Hebrides, Scotland. In ‘Heaths and Moorland: Cultural Landscapes’, (eds. Thompson, D. B. A., Hester, A. J., & Usher, M. B.). HMSO, Edinburgh. pp. 240-248.
{Charcoal is associated with the presence of heathland pollen assemblages in the Outer Hebrides.}

Mackay A.W. & Tallis J.H. (1996). Summit-type blanket mire erosion in the forest of Bowland, Lancashire, UK: Predisposing factors and implications for conservation. Biological Conservation 76, 31-44.

Mighall T.M. & Chambers F.M. (1995). Holocene vegetation history and human impact at Bryn-y-Castell, Snowdonia, North Wales. New Phytologist 130, 299-321.

Rhodes A.N. (1998). Charcoal analysis of mor-humus soils: A palaeoecological assessment of the utility of moorland soils for the reconstruction of extended fire histories. In ‘Heaths and Moorlands: Cultural Landscapes’, (eds. Thompson, D. B. A., Hester, A. J., & Usher, M. B.). HMSO, Edinburgh.

Simmons I.G. & Innes J.B. (1987). Mid-Holocene adaptations and later mesolithic forest disturbance in northern England. J Archael. Sci. 14, 385-404.

Stevenson A.C. (1990). The cause of peat erosion: a palaeolimnological approach. New Phytologist 114, 727-735.
{Analysis of organic sediments in Galloway and Rannoch Moor lakes suggests erosion of blanket pear commenced 1500-1700 AD. Acidification and industrial pollution commenced 1790-1860, after the erosion. Possible causes are Little Ice Age and/or anthropogenic disturbance, e.g. severe burning. There is some evidence from charcoal that intense fires took place at almost the same time as the erosion was recorded in lake sediments. Evidence from carbon dating, and loss on ignition of sediments.}

Sydes, C. (1988). ‘Recent assessments of moorland losses in Scotland’, CSD Notes No. 43, NCC, Peterborough.
{Summary of losses of heather moorland 1940s to 1970s (as detailed in the National Countryside Monitoring Scheme) is just over 25% in Grampians and 10-20% elsewhere in Scotland with the exception of Dumfries and Galloway where losses have been even greater. Plantation forestry accounts for 50 % of loss; 25% to grasses characteristic of over grazing and bad burning management (notes increase in numbers of sheep despite decrease in area for grazing); 7% in Grampian to cultivation; 5% semi-improved grassland; 1% to bracken; 7% to scrub regeneration – some natural but some from adjacent plantations of non-native species and provenances.}

Tallis J.H. (1987). Fire and flood at Holme Moss: erosion processes in an upland blanket mire. Journal of Ecology 75, 1099-1129.
{Micro- and macrofossil analysis of several peat cores recording last 1200 yrs. Evidence of erosion for 4-500 yrs in several diistinct episodes. Current vegetation is result of erosion and intense grazing on an already eroded surface. The main peat gullies probably originated in 11th century following deforestation of the surrounding hill slopes. Well-defined flowlines developed on the mire surface and developed into drainage channels, but not incised until 8-9th century when Sphagnum regrew over most of the area. Drier part of moor was severely burnt at least once in 18th C – much peat may have been lost as a result of the fire and subsequent erosion. Freak cloudburst in 1777 may have caused extensive damage to margins of peat blanket and accentuated existing erosion features. Concludes that much of the erosion caused by exceptional natural or man-made events, and that analysis of current environmental stresses ‘offers few clues to the causes of peat erosion’. The present day pattern of erosion had already established by the time of the Industrial Revolution and was largely unaffected by the loss of Sphagnum. It is not clear if the surfaces would have been recolonised if Sphagnum werepresent.}


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