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Vegetation changes and forest-line positions in the Swedish Scandes during late Holocene

anthropogenic impact vs. climate

Karlsson, Hanna (2008). Vegetation changes and forest-line positions in the Swedish Scandes during late Holocene. Diss. (sammanfattning/summary) Umeå : Sveriges lantbruksuniv., Acta Universitatis agriculturae Sueciae, 1652-6880 ; 2008:31
ISBN 978-91-85913-64-0
[Doctoral thesis]

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Abstract

The aim of this thesis was to elucidate the effect of human impact in contrast to climate on the vegetation in the northern part of the Scandinavian mountain range. The vegetation histories at four treeless Stállo settlement sites were contrasted to the vegetation histories in three forested reference areas at the same altitude as the settlement sites but lacking archaeological evidence of settlements. The Stállo settlement sites were probably established by Sámi people using the mountain areas for hunting and/or reindeer herding. They are generally dated in the range c. AD 650 to 1500, although it has been suggested that the main occupation period was confined to c. AD 800 to 1050. Peat stratigraphies from mires at the sites were recovered and analyzed for pollen, charred particles and macrofossils and pollen accumulation rates (PAR) were calculated. A statistical analysis was performed to separate the pollen from tree Betula and the shrub B. nana. In a simulation study the pre-settlement forest cover at one settlement site was explored. The results indicate that Betula trees were present at the Stállo settlement sites when the settlements were established. The settlement establishment was followed by a reduction in Betula tree cover at the sites. No such reduction was apparent in the reference areas suggesting that the decrease in tree cover was not due to climatic change. The deforestation during the Stállo settlement period was followed by a period of colder climate during the Little Ice Age, which together with continuing effects of human presence prevented reforestation of these areas. This long term absence of trees may have changed the ecosystem properties, hampering reestablishment of trees in these areas. This thesis demonstrates that historical human impact in the northern part of the Scandinavian mountain range can have a substantial effect on the local vegetation, which is still visible in the landscape today, several centuries after the settlements were abandoned. This long-term legacy in the landscape suggests that these areas are not “pristine” ecosystems, and has profound implications for our understanding of the responses of the tree- and forest-limits in these areas to e.g. climate change.

Authors/Creators:Karlsson, Hanna
Title:Vegetation changes and forest-line positions in the Swedish Scandes during late Holocene
Subtitle:anthropogenic impact vs. climate
Year of publishing :2008
Volume:2008:31
Number of Pages:52
Papers/manuscripts:
NumberReferences
ALLI. Karlsson, H., Hörnberg, G., Hannon, G., Nordström, E.-M. (2007). Long-term vegetation changes in the northern Scandinavian forest limit: a human impact-climate synergy? The Holocene 17, 37-49 II. Karlsson, H., Shevtsova, A., Hörnberg, G. Vegetation development at a mountain settlement site in the Swedish Scandes during the late Holocene - palaeoecological evidence of human-induced deforestation, (Submitted manuscript) III. Karlsson, H., Salmonsson, J., Hörnberg, G. A millenium of human disturbance in the northern Scandinavian mountain range: Long-lasting effects on forest lines, vegetation and ecological processes. Manuscript. IV. Karlsson, H., Bunting, M.J., Middleton, R. Quantitative estimation of pre-settlement forest cover using the multiple scenario approach at a Stállo settlement site in the Swedish Scandes. Manuscript.
Place of Publication:Umeå
ISBN for printed version:978-91-85913-64-0
ISSN:1652-6880
Language:English
Publication Type:Doctoral thesis
Full Text Status:Public
Agrovoc terms:betula, vegetation, history, climatic change, pollen, sweden
Keywords:vegetation history, Stállo settlement, human impact, climate change, northern Scandinavia, forest limit, simulation approach, Betula, pollen size statistics, climate change
URN:NBN:urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-2189
Permanent URL:
http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-2189
ID Code:1737
Department:(S) > Dept. of Forest Ecology and Management
Deposited By: Hanna Karlsson
Deposited On:21 Apr 2008 00:00
Metadata Last Modified:02 Dec 2014 10:13

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