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Pressures on buried ancient pollen

Ancient pollen buried in peat bogs tells us about plant colonisation since the last glaciers melted, but it is at risk.

The history of landscape evolution since the end of the last glaciation is preserved in the layers of sediment within peat bogs and on loch beds.

These ‘environmental archives’:

  • have preserved pollen, plant fragments and insect remains – which tell us about environmental change, climate history and vegetation growth
  • reveal how human activity has shaped the landscape – through woodland clearance, soil erosion and acidification of water bodies

Disturbance to our peat bogs and loch bed sediments may destroy this record. Such archives are vulnerable to land improvement changes, especially drainage of bogs and commercial peat extraction.

How we can help

Scottish Natural Heritage can advise on the management and conservation of Scotland’s environmental archives.

Contact your local Scottish Natural Heritage area office.

Find out more

After the ice