Biodiversity & Conservation

, Volume 2, Issue 5, pp 474–489 | Cite as

Peatlands as scientific archives of past biodiversity

  • Keith E. Barber
Papers

Peat bogs preserve past biodiversity in a way which is unique among ecosystems, but the full realization of this, and the exploitation of the various records which are archived in the stratified layers of peat, is only now beginning. Present knowledge of peat formation in ombrotrophic or rain-fed bogs is reviewed and the many advantages of such systems as proxy-data sources are summarized. Some results of recent work involving pollen analysis and human impact, pollution histories, volcanic ash layers, plant macrofossils and the prospects for a detailed proxy-climate record are presented. The present vegetation of such bogs is only a very partial view of their past biodiversity; the conservation of the peat that remains must have a high priority.

Keywords

peat stratigraphy proxy-data human impact macrofossils climate change 

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Copyright information

© Chapman & Hall 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Keith E. Barber
    • 1
  1. 1.Palacoecology Laboratory, Department of GeographyUniversity of SouthamptonSouthamptonUK

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