The history of <i>Fagus sylvatica</i> at its northern limit in Vendsyssel, Denmark



Hannon, Gina E ORCID: 0000-0002-5536-7884, Bradshaw, Richard HW, Chiverrell, Richard C and Skovsgaard, Jens Peter ORCID: 0000-0002-2725-8154
(2024) The history of <i>Fagus sylvatica</i> at its northern limit in Vendsyssel, Denmark. The Holocene.

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Abstract

<jats:p> Pollen, plant macrofossils and charcoal analyses were used to study tree diversity, fire history and forest disturbance over the past c. 3500 years at three forest remnant sites in Vendsyssel, northern Denmark. All locations had a more diverse tree composition in the past including abundant Alnus, Betula, Corylus, Pinus, Quercus, Salix, Tilia and Ulmus. The changes in tree diversity through time can be attributed to a combination of factors including climate change, burning linked to shifting cultivation, grazing and felling. The balance between arboreal and non-arboreal pollen was already being influenced by human activities in the late Bronze Age c. 3000 years ago. The high pollen abundance values recorded for Tilia pre-2000 years ago are exceptional as compared to later periods at these sites. At one location, the transition from Tilia to Fagus indicated that Tilia prevailed until c. 1300 years ago. Subsequent periods of forest clearance, with charcoal and cereal cultivation, initially including Hordeum and subsequently also Secale, were recorded. There was pollen evidence for grazing followed by shrub regeneration including Calluna, Erica, Juniperus and herbaceous taxa, and following that, a forest recovery of mainly Fagus, Picea and Pinus. This recovery is also recorded in historical forest records from 1880 CE onwards, emphasising the dominant role of plantation schemes. Results are placed in a wider framework of other sites in Denmark and southern Scandinavia, which have also documented a reduction of tree diversity and forest cover over the same period. The evidence from the long-term record is used to draw conclusions to assist forest restoration programmes. </jats:p>

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: 37 Earth Sciences, 3709 Physical Geography and Environmental Geoscience, 3705 Geology
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Engineering > School of Environmental Sciences
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 26 Mar 2024 16:44
Last Modified: 16 Jun 2024 18:31
DOI: 10.1177/09596836241236340
Open Access URL: https://doi.org/10.1177/09596836241236340
Related URLs:
URI: https://livrepository.liverpool.ac.uk/id/eprint/3179983