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Littleton Bog, Tipperary: An Irish Vegetational Record

By
G. F. Mitchell
G. F. Mitchell
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Published:
January 01, 1965

In a basin at Littleton near Thurles, County Tipperary, in south-central Ireland at 140 m above sea level, a series of deposits—first open-water mud, then fen peat, and finally raised-bog Sphagnum peat—developed, beginning in Late Glacial time and continuing to the present day. Pollen counts were made throughout the deposits, and the pollen of all plants thought to have grown on the drier ground surrounding the basin were included in the pollen total. The total diagram thus makes clear the dominance of herbs in Late Glacial time, interrupted by the Alleröd phase when Betula expanded. When Postglacial time began, bushes quickly displaced the herbs, and the bushes in turn gave way to Pinus and Corylus. Quercus and Ulmus established themselves later in the Boreal period, and in the following Atlantic period Pinus shrank markedly, and Quercus, Ulmus, Alnus, and Corylus formed a closed deciduous canopy which overshadowed the herbs.

Neolithic farmers arrived in Ireland about 3000 B.C., and after this time the diagram illustrates the oscillation between phases of agricultural clearance and woodland regeneration. Attempts are made to date the phases of clearance, and these are linked with the activities of farmers of Neolithic (3000 B.C.), Middle Bronze Age (1800 B.C.), Late Bronze Age (1200 B.C.), Early Christian (300–1000 A.D.), and Late Medieval (1300 A.D.) times. In 1600 A.D. intensive exploitation of the surviving woodlands began, and Ireland was quickly stripped of timber. In 1700 A.D. reafforestation began, and the pollen of the planted trees, notably Fagus (not native in Postglacial Ireland), can be traced in the uppermost layers of the bog.

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GSA Special Papers

International Studies on the Quaternary: Papers Prepared on the Occasion of the VII Congress of the International Association for Quaternary Research Boulder, Colorado, 1965

H. E. Wright, Jr.
H. E. Wright, Jr.
Editors
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David G. Frey
David G. Frey
Editors
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Geological Society of America
Volume
84
ISBN print:
9780813720845
Publication date:
January 01, 1965

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