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The role of tree composition in Holocene fire history of the hemiboreal and southern boreal zones of southern Sweden, as revealed by the application of the Landscape Reconstruction Algorithm: Implications for biodiversity and climate-change issues
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2013 (English)In: The Holocene, ISSN 0959-6836, E-ISSN 1477-0911, Vol. 23, no 12, 1747-1763 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

We present a quantitative reconstruction of local forest history at two sites, Stavsakra (hemiboreal zone) and Storasjo (southern boreal zone), in southern Sweden (province of Smaland) to evaluate possible causes of contrasting Holocene fire histories in mid- and late Holocene. The Landscape Reconstruction Algorithm (LRA) is applied to evaluate between-site differences in the relative abundance of deciduous trees and Pinus (pine) and landscape/woodland openness during the Holocene. The LRA estimates of local vegetation abundance are compared with other proxies of local vegetation, that is, plant and beetle remains. The LRA results suggest that Pinus was a major tree taxon in the woodlands of Storasjo during mid- and late Holocene, while Tilia (linden) and Betula (birch) were dominant at Stavsakra. The contrasting fire histories are shown to be strongly related to between-site differences in tree composition during mid-Holocene, 4000-2000 bc in particular. The archaeological/historical and beetle data indicate contrasting land uses from c. 1000 bc (late Bronze Age/early Iron Age), grazing in open Calluna heaths at Stavsakra and woodland grazing at Storasjo. Between-site differences in fire history during late Holocene were likely due to different land-use practices. Between-site differences in tree composition in mid-Holocene are best explained by local climatic and geological/geomorphological differences between the hemiboreal and southern boreal zones of Smaland, which might also be the primary cause of between-site differences in land-use histories during late Holocene. Maintenance of biodiversity at the landscape scale in the study area requires that existing old pine woodlands and Calluna heath are managed with fire and cattle grazing. Further climate warming might lead to higher probabilities of climate-induces fire, in particular in pine-dominated woodlands.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Sage Publications, 2013. Vol. 23, no 12, 1747-1763 p.
Keyword [en]
biodiversity, climate change, fire, forest history, Holocene, Landscape Reconstruction Algorithm
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URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-84513DOI: 10.1177/0959683613505339ISI: 000327472500009OAI: diva2:687439
Available from: 2014-01-14 Created: 2014-01-08 Last updated: 2014-01-14Bibliographically approved

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Olsson, Fredrik
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Economic historyCentre for Regional Science (CERUM)
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