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Simulating Icelandic vegetation cover during the Holocene Implications for long-term land degradation

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Abstract:

We have simulated the spatial relationship between temperature change and long-term potential vegetation cover dynamics. The results show that the potential vegetation and birch forest range is highly sensitive to the temperature conditions. Around 3000BPthe simulated potential vegetation cover began to decrease and at the time of the Viking settlement, inAD874 (1076BP), vegetation and forest cover was already in decline. The climate driven decline continued to an unprecedented low potential for vegetation for the Holocene that lasted c. 600 years, i.e. betweenADc. 1300 and 1900. These interpretations are further supported by geomorphological and pollen data.

Keywords: Holocene; Iceland; Spatial dynamic modelling; Viking settlement; birch forest; land degradation; vegetation cover changes

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.0435-3676.2001.00155.x

Affiliations: 1: Department of Physical Geography, Lund University, Lund, Sweden, 2: Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology, Stockholm University, Stockholm, Sweden, 3: Department of Chemical Engineering, Lund University, Lund, Sweden

Publication date: 2001-12-01

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