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Particularly in summer, the air is filled with pollen dust.
A number of supplementary techniques are commonly applied together with pollen analysis, yet there is little opportunity to go further than pass comment on these here.
Fossil pollen assemblages cannot, as yet, be directly translated into plant abundances, or used to produce maps of vegetation cover except at the broadest (landscape) scales, although research into modelling procedures is advancing in this direction.
One central question that still needs to be addressed is defining exactly where the pollen that accumulates in any sediment has come from.
Studies of modern analogues can help address this, and research into modern pollen-vegetation relationships in the Outer Hebrides (Brayshay 2000) and northwest Scotland (Bunting 2003) have proved useful in furnishing information on treeless landscapes (e.g. Software for simulating landscape scenarios from pollen data is being developed and refined (e.g.
Middleton and Bunting 2004; Bunting and Middleton 2005), and this approach could provide answers to questions often posed about the past vegetation mosaic and land use in the areas immediately surrounding prehistoric monuments and settlements.