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Hultberg, Tove (2008) Forest continuity and human impact. Other thesis, SLU.

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Abstract

The aim of this study was to reconstruct the vegetation history of Torup forest in southwestern Scania, Sweden. Pollen from a small forest hollow was analysed in order to provide data on long-term local forest history beyond the record of maps and written sources. The pollen record covered 6000 years, of which the results of the past 300 years were compared to the historical record. During the oldest period (4000-350 BC), the site was a forest with striking abundance of Alnus (alder), but also Quercus (oak), Tilia (lime), Ulmus (elm) and Pinus (pine) occurred, while herbs and grasses were rare. The forest could be considered "natural" without a major human impact, up to the Bronze Age. At that point, around 350 BC, Alnus and Tilia decreased and a grazed forest dominated by Quercus, Betula (birch), and with time Fagus (beech), replaced the former non-grazed Quercus, Tilia and Corylus (hazel) forest. Fagus, Carpinus (hornbeam), cereals, herbs and other anthropogenic indicators established, and the number of species increased very suddenly. The opening of the forest during the Bronze Age could be seen as the reflection of a changed land use. During the period around year 0, mowing as well as harvesting of leaves for fodder was introduced in Scania. From year 0 to the late Middle Ages, the forest was diminished, and herbs became more abundant. Fagus established in Torup around 900 BC, but did not become common until the Middle Ages. The period between the establishment and expansion of Fagus is the time when the most charcoal was found, i.e. the period with most forest fires, concluding that beech expanded after the use of slash and burn cultivation stopped. From the 16th century, mainly Fagus and Betula dominated the forest, while other species decreased rapidly. Starting in 1694, the pollen diagrams could be supported by historical maps. At that point, Fagus dominated the forest, although other broadleaves also were common. Conifers were rare in Torup until the last couple of centuries. Torup forest has a continuity of at least 6000 years, which is very rare in the agricultural areas of southern Sweden. Despite its long forest continuity, the density of Torup forest has fluctuated, from being a rather dense mixed broadleaved forest to an open, grazed forest with numerous herbs, as well as light demanding tree species such as Quercus and Betula. Using historical maps, it is possible to draw the conclusion that the openness is likely to have been greater than indicated by the pollen diagram.

Item Type: Thesis (Other)
Keywords: Forest history, beech, Fagus sylvatica, Torup, Scania
Subject (faculty): Faculty of Forest Sciences > Southern Swedish Forest Research Centre
Divisions: SLU > Faculty of Forest Sciences
Depositing User: Tove Hultberg
Date Deposited: 12 Feb 2008
Last Modified: 18 Aug 2015 09:59
URI: http://ex-epsilon.slu.se/id/eprint/2247

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