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Human Impact on Vegetation of Coastal Estonia during the Stone Age
Uppsala University, Teknisk-naturvetenskapliga vetenskapsområdet, Earth Sciences, Department of Earth Sciences.
2001 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This thesis presents the dynamics of vegetation and human impact on the environment in coastal Estonia during the Holocene. The sediments of five mires and two lakes from the mainland and from Saaremaa island, and a cultural layer of an Early Mesolithic settlement at Pärnu River were investigated by means of pollen analysis (modern and fossil pollen spectra), 14C dating (AMS and conventional dating) and numerical analysis of pollen data (rarefaction analysis, zonation and principal components analysis). Additional palaeogeographical and archaeological evidence was used to aid interpretation.

The integration of bio- and chronostratigraphical results with archaeological evidence has proved to be a powerful tool for the evaluation of the role of people in landscape history and the reconstruction of the introduction of farming to coastal areas of Estonia. Determining pollen zones separately for tree taxa and taxa associated with human impact proved to be an effective basis for describing landscape and anthropogenic changes, respectively. The impact of Mesolithic (9000 - 4900 cal. BC) hunter-gatherers on vegetation in the boreal-nemoral forest zone is detectable by means of pollen analysis, but was restricted in space and time and did not have long-lasting effects on the environment or increase landscape openness. The introduction of crop farming into coastal Estonia was similar to that in southern Sweden, at 4000 cal. BC, and more than 1000 years earlier than it is known from Finland. However, the adoption of crop cultivation took place much later than in southern Sweden. Because of a lack of reliable palynological indicators, the timing of the introduction and adoption of pastoral farming is difficult to pinpoint. The extent and length of vegetation disturbances caused by Neolithic tribes shows that pastoral farming must have been known and was probably more frequent than crop cultivation during the Neolithic (4900 - 1800 cal. BC) in coastal Estonia. The Ulmus decline and the expansion of Picea abies were probably initiated or at least promoted by the introduction of farming in Coastal Estonia.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis , 2001. , 48 p.
Comprehensive Summaries of Uppsala Dissertations from the Faculty of Science and Technology, ISSN 1104-232X ; 652
Keyword [en]
Earth sciences, Estonia, pollen analysis, Holocene, pre-agrarian human impact, introduction of arable farming
Keyword [sv]
National Category
Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
Research subject
Quarternary Geology
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-1447ISBN: 91-554-5102-0OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-1447DiVA: diva2:160984
Public defence
2001-09-28, Hambergs salen, Institute of Earth Sciences, Villavägen 16, 752 36 Uppsala, Uppsala, 13:00
Available from: 2001-10-17 Created: 2001-10-17Bibliographically approved

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