|Paleomagnetism||The study of the magnetic polarity of rocks when they formed millions of years ago, indicating that the position of the continents has changed over time|
|Parish||The smallest unit of local government, found in rural areas and often corresponding to long accepted units of land for which census data have been collected – including the statistical accounts. There are 16 core church parishes in the Cairngorms area – Strathdon, Crathie & Braemar, Glenmuick, Lochlee, Cortachy, Glenisla, Inveravon, Kirkmichael (Banffshire), Abernethy, Alvie, Duthill, Kingussie, Cromdale, Kirkmichael (Perthshire), Blair Atholl and Moulin.|
|Passerine||A small perching bird, e.g. chaffinch, sparrow, warbler|
|Piste basher||A wide, heavy machine for reorganising snow on ski 'pistes', flattening out moguls (bumps), compacting soft snow areas, to provide wide, flat runs|
|Plateau||A flat–topped mountain area|
|Pluton||A mass of rock that has which has solidified from magma below the Earth's surface. A very large mass is also known as a|
|Podsolisation||The most severe form of soil leaching. The removal of sesquioxides and clay minerals from upper soil horizons by means of soluble organic substances, under acid conditions|
|Polar Front||The 'frontier' between polar and tropical air between latitudes of 40° and 60° N and S, along which depressions (cyclones) form and circulate rain–bearing clouds eastward, over the continents|
|Precautionary principle||One of five principles guiding sustainable use of the natural heritage – wise use, carrying capacity, environmental quality, shared benefits and precautionary principle. It recognises the need for good science in decision–making. This principle also recognises that environmental complexity and consequent uncertainty limit the scope for obtaining scientific proof of impacts within decision–making time scales|
|Predator||An animal that stalks, kills and feeds on other animals – a carnivore|
|Prey||An animal that is stalked and killed by another animal|
|Psammitic||Of rocks, originating from sand grains|
Pegmatite is a very coarse-grained igneous rock that has a grain size of 20 mm or more; such rocks are referred to as pegmatitic. Most pegmatites are composed of quartz, feldspar and mica; in essence a "granite".
This is the study of vegetation history using microfossils (pollen grain and spores) found in the area.
Pollen grains are basically microscopic spherical or oval / disc shaped structures. Each pollen type has its own unique set of characteristics which allows species or plant families to be identified.
This is the process of converting light energy to chemical energy and storing it. This process occurs only in green plants and some algae and these are the only plants that produce oxygen and make food
sloping sides with rounded base (cross between U & V) for the scientific definition see www.wikipedia.org./wiki/parabolic
Plant succession is the natural change in plant communities that occurs over time. However, soil conditions, climate and other forces may affect the pattern of succession.