Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Hostname: page-component-848d4c4894-8kt4b Total loading time: 0 Render date: 2024-06-15T02:07:06.442Z Has data issue: false hasContentIssue false

6 - Peatlands as knowledge archives

from Part I - Peatland ecosystems services

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 June 2016

Benjamin Gearey
Affiliation:
University College Cork
Ralph Fyfe
Affiliation:
University of Plymouth
Aletta Bonn
Affiliation:
German Centre für Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) Halle-Jena-Leipzig
Tim Allott
Affiliation:
University of Manchester
Martin Evans
Affiliation:
University of Manchester
Hans Joosten
Affiliation:
Institute of Botany and Landscape Ecology
Rob Stoneman
Affiliation:
Yorkshire Wildlife Trust
Get access

Summary

Introduction

The waterlogged and anoxic conditions within peatlands can result in the exceptional preservation of a diverse range of material, which provides a unique record of past societies and the environment. Organic remains which are entirely lost from the record on dryland sites may be preserved for millennia within peat. Certain of these finds are among the most vivid and also the most vulnerable evidence of past people and cultures that archaeology is able to provide the world over. Peat also preserves a wide range of ‘fossil’ material that has long been central to understanding patterns of vegetation change and human impact on the environment. Recent work is now beginning to realise the full potential of peatlands as records of climatic change that may be regarded as the terrestrial equivalent of ice core records. Both the archaeological and palaeo-environmental records are fragile, finite and unique resources, the future survival of which is inseparable from the fate of peatlands.

Three interrelated aspects of peatlands as knowledge archives (archaeology, palaeoecology and conservation ecology; Figure 6.1) can be broadly defined which have synergies but has generally different research agendas, although knowledge transfer between the areas of archaeology/palaeoecology and conservation ecology has increased in recent years (see below). One aim of this chapter is to illustrate the distinctive value of the peatland archive for each of these agendas, but also to highlight the specific value of such work within the context of ecosystem services.

In particular, by providing long-term records of ecological processes that cannot be attained through ‘real-time’ monitoring projects, palaeo-environmental data have the potential to inform the future restoration and management of peatlands. Finally, the archaeological and palaeo-environmental archive is also vulnerable to a range of threats, and this chapter discusses the importance of integrated restoration and management to best protect this fragile resource.

The archaeo-environmental record of peatlands

The archaeological and palaeo-environmental (archaeo-environmental for short) record of peatlands is included in the ‘Cultural services’ section of the peatland ecosystem services framework within the ‘Physical and intellectual interaction with biota, ecosystems, and landscapes’ division and the ‘Intellectual and representative interactions’ group (see Chapter 1; Table 1.1).

Type
Chapter
Information
Peatland Restoration and Ecosystem Services
Science, Policy and Practice
, pp. 95 - 113
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2016

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×