Late Holocene beetle assemblages and environmental change in Gammelhemmet, northern Sweden

Sara Khorasani, Eva Panagiotakopulu*, Roger Engelmark, Ian Ralston

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Analysis of insect fossil remains retrieved from a bog close to the abandoned farm at Gammelhemmet, near Lycksele in Swedish Lapland, enabled the reconstruction of environmental changes at the site over the last 2500years. These results represent the first late Holocene palaeoentomological succession studied for insect remains in the Vasterbotten interior, and they provide new evidence for landscape change in the area. Around 2000years ago, at the end of the early Iron Age, disappearance of the tree and leaf litter fauna and an increase in aquatic species indicate the expansion of wetlands in the area. Patches of a multi-aged mixed woodland with a diverse assemblage of forest-dwelling beetles succeeded the wetland approximate to 1500years ago, at the beginning of the late Iron Age. A marked change to open and drier conditions, and the presence of species often found in grassland and cultivated ground took place during the post-Medieval period. Our evidence indicates drainage of the area prior to the 18th century, placing the initiation of agricultural activities in Gammelhemmet earlier than the documentary record. Our research shows the potential of the use of fossil insects for understanding environmental change and also human impact on the landscape, even of limited scale, from natural contexts.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)368-382
Number of pages15
JournalBoreas
Volume44
Issue number2
Early online date20 Oct 2014
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2015

Keywords

  • AMERICAN OMALIINAE COLEOPTERA
  • SOUTH-CENTRAL SWEDEN
  • PINUS-SYLVESTRIS L.
  • BOREAL FOREST
  • CLIMATE-CHANGE
  • PEAT
  • HISTORY
  • STAPHYLINIDAE
  • CHRONOLOGY
  • VEGETATION

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