Human impact on an island ecosystem : pollen data from Sandoy, Faroe Islands
MetadataShow full item record
Aim To investigate the form and dynamics of ecosystems on an isolated island in the North Atlantic before human settlement in the first millennium AD, and the effects of human activities thereafter. Location The island of Sandoy, Faroes (61°50' N, 6°45' W). Methods Two sequences of lake sediments and one of peat were studied using pollen analysis and sedimentological techniques. Age models were constructed on the basis of radiocarbon dating and, in one case, tephrochronology. The data were analysed statistically and compared with existing data from the region. Results The pollen data indicate that early Holocene vegetation consisted of fell-field communities probably growing on raw, skeletal soils. These communities gave way to grass- and sedge-dominated communities, which in turn were largely replaced by dwarf shrub-dominated blanket mire communities well before the first arrival of humans. There is evidence for episodic soil erosion, particularly in the uplands. Changes in the records attributable to human impact are minor in comparison with many other situations in the North Atlantic margins, and with certain published sequences from elsewhere in the Faroes. They include: (1) the appearance of cereal pollen and charcoal, (2) an expansion of ruderal taxa, (3) a decline in certain taxa, notably Juniperus communis and Filipendula ulmaria, and (4) a renewed increase in rates of upland soil erosion. The reliability of palaeoecological inferences drawn from these sites, and more generally from sites in similar unforested situations, is discussed. Main conclusions The subdued amplitude of palynological and sedimentological responses to settlement at these sites can be explained partly in terms of their location and partly in terms of the sensitivity of different parts of the ecosystem to human activities. This study is important in establishing that the imposition of people on the pristine environment of Sandoy, while far from negligible, especially in the immediate vicinity of early farms and at high altitudes, had relatively little ecological impact in many parts of the landscape.
Lawson , I T , Edwards , K J , Church , M J , Newton , A J , Cook , G T , Gathorne-Hardy , F J & Dugmore , A J 2008 , ' Human impact on an island ecosystem : pollen data from Sandoy, Faroe Islands ' , Journal of Biogeography , vol. 35 , no. 6 , pp. 1130-1152 . https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2699.2007.01838.x
Journal of Biogeography
© 2007 The Authors. Journal compilation © 2007 Blackwell Publishing Ltd. This is the peer reviewed version of the following article: Lawson, I. T., Edwards, K. J., Church, M. J., Newton, A. J., Cook, G. T., Gathorne-Hardy, F. J. and Dugmore, A. J. (2008), ORIGINAL ARTICLE: Human impact on an island ecosystem: pollen data from Sandoy, Faroe Islands. Journal of Biogeography, 35: 1130–1152, which has been published in final form at http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1365-2699.2007.01838.x. This article may be used for non-commercial purposes in accordance With Wiley Terms and Conditions for self-archiving.
DescriptionThis work was funded by the Leverhulme Trust under the programme ‘Landscapes circum-landnám’
Items in the St Andrews Research Repository are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated.
Showing items related by title, author, creator and subject.
Stability or renewal : the judicialisation of representative democracy in American and German constitutionalism Miles, David Jonathan (University of St Andrews, 2017-06-20) - ThesisThis thesis examines how American and German constitutionalism, as shaped by the U.S. Supreme Court and the German Constitutional Court (Bundesverfassungsgericht), have mediated the tension between threats to stability and ...
Level of local human disturbance and feeding state determines escape behaviour in Eurasian Oystercatchers Azaki, Bukola DA; Cresswell, Will (2021-08-31) - Journal articleHuman disturbances may constitute a significant stressor for wildlife, especially where human recreational activities overlap with fitness-enhancing activities such as feeding. Disturbances cause an animal to flee from the ...
Priest, Eric (2023-06-01) - Journal articleIn both science and theology, there has been a revolution in our understanding of the nature of human uniqueness. As a background to this Symposium on the subject, a summary is here given of the history of Homo sapiens ...