Long-term studies of a Shetland serpentine site.
British Ecological Society 1
The Shetland Islands lie in the north Atlantic 200km north of the British mainland. The Keen of Hamar is a serpentine (ultramafic) outcrop with substantial expanses of sparsely vegetated debris and a distinctive glacial relict flora. In this presentation a 30 year study is described including population dynamics of debris plant species, nutrient addition experiments, successional studies, grazing exclosures amd studies of erosion rates. The outcomes included consideration of underlying ecological processes and conservation issues. It appears that succession on the sparsely colonised debris is almost totally retarded and that the effects of human interference are temporary. Despite looking unstable this is probably one of the most stable and most ancient habitats in Britain, little changed since the last glaciation ended.
Keywords: serpentine, succession, relict flora,
This abstract is being presented at: 3:30 PM in session:
Oral Session #33: Plant Demography.