Tree-ring analysis of sub-fossil Pinus sylvestris L. and Quercus sp. and their associated sub-fossil insect assemblages from tree rot holes have been used to study a prehistoric forest buried in the basal peats at Tyrham Hall Quarry, Hatfield Moors SSSI, in the Humberhead Levels, eastern England. The site provided a rare opportunity to examine the date, composition, age structure and entomological biodiversity of a mid-Holocene Pinus-dominated forest. The combined approaches of dendrochronology and palaeoentomology have enabled a detailed picture of the forest to be reconstructed, within a precise time frame. The Pinus chronology has been precisely dated to 2921- 2445 BC against the English Quercus master curve and represents the first English Pinus chronology to be dendrochronologically dated. A suite of important xylophilous (wood-loving) beetles that are today very rare and four species that no longer live within the British Isles were also recovered, their disappearance associated with the decline in woodland habitats as well as possible climate change. The sub-fossil insects indicate that the characteristic species of the site's modern-day fauna were already in place 4000 years ago. These findings have important implications in terms of maintaining long-term invertebrate biodiversity of mire sites.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)