Skullbone Plains Sphagnum Peat Core

Extracting cores from the sphagnum peatlands at Skullbone Plains paints a picture of the past.

Two cores have now been extracted from the sphagnum peatlands at Skullbone Plains to give a picture of the fire history, vegetation development and invertebrate assemblages since the last glacial period. In 2012 the first core was extracted to a depth of 3.6 metres, and only the deepest section was analysed. It was aged at 8,000 years and contained an interesting array of mites, aphids and beetle larvae.

A second, fully intact, 3.8 metre core retrieved in 2015 is being examined at 1-2 cm intervals. A more detailed pollen and charcoal analysis will determine the pattern of peatland development and could pinpoint the arrival of Europeans to the area and any change in their fire practices. The site may act as a baseline in assessing the impact of projected climate change on peatlands in the region. The report can be accessed via our Publications Library.

This work is supported by the Purves Environment Fund and undertaken in collaboration with Dr Geoff Hope from ANU, Tasmanian peatland expert Dr Jennie Whinam and TLC’s graduate research associate Dr Jane Keble-Williams.

Banner image: Drs Hope and Whinam extracting a peat core in 2015 Photo: Sally Bryant