The Yorkshire Dales is one of the most iconic agricultural landscapes in Britain. However, many questions remain over the evolution of this landscape through time and its natural state before major human impacts. Here we present new palynological data that provide insight into the vegetation and fire history of the southern Yorkshire Dales from the late glacial period to present day. Our data suggest that there is considerable variation in vegetation history between sites, which probably reflects topographic and edaphic factors. Several of the records contain hiatuses that may reflect forest clearance, slow peat accumulation, or peat drainage, cutting and/or burning. Our data show a marked clearance of woodland beginning in the Neolithic period and intensifying in more recent times, marking the development of the contemporary agricultural landscape of the Yorkshire Dales.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
GR acknowledges a Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) PhD studentship ( NER/S/A/2005/13246 ). We thank Natural England for access to the sites, and NERC and Robert White at the Yorkshire Dales National Park for funding radiocarbon dates for this project. We also thank John and Wendy Thorp and Phil Hudson for sharing their local knowledge of the Yorkshire Dales, and Tom Lord for access to the Winskill Archive and sustained project support. JMG contributed to this paper during the AIAS-COFUND II fellowship programme and was supported by the Marie Skłodowska-Curie actions under the European Union's Horizon 2020 (Grant agreement no. 754513 ) and the Aarhus University Research Foundation . The contribution of JMG represents NRCan contribution number/Numéro de contribution de RNCan: 20200342). We thank the two anonymous reviewers of this paper for their constructive comments.
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- Human impact
- Late glacial
- Yorkshire Dales
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics