Home About Browse Search

Pristine forest landscapes as ecological references

human land use and ecosystem change in boreal Fennoscandia

Josefsson, Torbjörn (2009). Pristine forest landscapes as ecological references. Diss. (sammanfattning/summary) Umeå : Sveriges lantbruksuniv., Acta Universitatis Agriculturae Sueciae, 1652-6880 ; 2009:77
ISBN 978-91-576-7424-1
[Doctoral thesis]

[img] PDF


Northern boreal forests that display no signs of forestry or agriculture in the past are often regarded as intact, pristine forests. Yet, humans have inhabited these environments for millennia and developed a variety of economic strategies for their subsistence. Generally, these forms of land use have been regarded as minor disturbances, and have thus frequently been neglected in ecological studies. Despite the increased recognition of the importance of past land use in other forest landscapes, the land use effects in northerly remote forests remain unclear. In this thesis the influence of human land use on forest structure, composition and biodiversity (dead wood and wood-inhabiting fungi) during the last 1 000 years was studied in three Scots pine forests in northern Sweden. For this purpose I used an interdisciplinary approach, combining field studies on present forest characteristics with long-term records such as archaeological remains and biological archives, and short-term records such as historical documents. My results show that long-term, low-intensity land use can substantially influence forest structure and composition and that land use legacies can reverberate through the ecosystem for many centuries. This implies that forests in remote and inaccessible areas with no recent management cannot be indiscriminately used to represent ‘pristine’ reference conditions. The results also show that to understand the overall magnitude and complexity of the relationship between humans and the land, all forms of human activities that may have occurred within the studied space should be considered. Furthermore, different patterns and gradients of past land use; varying in space, time and intensity across landscapes, create ‘layers’ of land use. The result is a matrix in which some areas have been heavily used for extensive periods of time whereas other parts may have practically escaped human exploitation. To detect and interpret anthropogenic disturbance in northern forest ecosystems a clear strategy for choosing relevant methods and applying them in the right order should be adopted. Then, possibly pristine forests can be evaluated as reference areas for addressing scientific research questions and conservation management.

Authors/Creators:Josefsson, Torbjörn
Title:Pristine forest landscapes as ecological references
Subtitle:human land use and ecosystem change in boreal Fennoscandia
Series Name/Journal:Acta Universitatis Agriculturae Sueciae
Year of publishing :2009
Number of Pages:70
ALLI. Josefsson, T., Hörnberg, G. & Östlund, L. (2009). Long-term human impact and vegetation changes in a boreal forest reserve: implications for the use of protected areas as ecological references. Ecosystems 12(6):1017-1036. II. Josefsson, T., Östlund, L., Gunnarson, B., Bergman, I. & Liedgren, L. Historical human influence on forest composition and structure in boreal Fennoscandia: indigenous peoples’ land-use legacies in protected forest landscapes (Submitted manuscript). III Josefsson, T., Bergman, I. & Östlund, L. (2009). Quantifying Saami Settlement and Movement Patterns in Northern Sweden, 1700–1900. Accepted for publication in Arctic (In press). IV Josefsson, T., Olsson, J. & Östlund, L. Linking forest history and conservation efforts: effects of logging on forest structure and diversity of wood-inhabiting fungi (Submitted manuscript). Papers I and III are reproduced with the permission of the publishers: Springer Science and Business Media (Paper I) and Arctic Institute of North America (Paper III).
Place of Publication:Umeå
ISBN for printed version:978-91-576-7424-1
Publication Type:Doctoral thesis
Full Text Status:Public
Agrovoc terms:forest land, history, land use, boreal forests, human behaviour, indigenous knowledge, social anthropology, sweden
Keywords:forest history, interdisciplinary research, indigenous people, Sami, disturbance, dead wood, wood-inhabiting fungi, reference areas, conservation
Permanent URL:
ID Code:2145
Department:(S) > Dept. of Forest Ecology and Management
Deposited By: Torbjörn Josefsson
Deposited On:28 Oct 2009 00:00
Metadata Last Modified:02 Dec 2014 10:16

Repository Staff Only: item control page


Downloads per year (since September 2012)

View more statistics