Dynamic early Holocene vegetation development on the Faroe Islands inferred from high-resolution plant macrofossil and pollen data

Gina Hannon, Mats Rundgren, Catherine Jessen

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Vegetation dynamics during the earliest part of the Holocene (11,250–10,250 cal yr BP) have been
reconstructed from a lacustrine sequence on Sandoy, the Faroe Islands, using detailed plant macrofossil and
pollen evidence. The plant macrofossils suggest the initial vegetation was sparse herb and shrub tundra, with
Salix herbacea and open-ground species, followed by the development of a denser and more species-rich
arctic heathland after 11,150 cal yr BP. Despite high pollen values for Betula nana, macrofossils are rare. The
bulk of the macrofossils recorded are S. herbacea and Empetrum leaves with numerous herb taxa and an
abundance of Racomitrium moss. Conditions start to change around 10,800 cal yr BP, with increased
catchment erosion and sediment delivery to the lake from ca. 10,600 cal yr BP, and a transition to alternating
Cyperaceae and Poaceae communities between ca. 10,450 and 10,250 cal yr BP. This vegetation change,
which has been recorded throughout the Faroes, has previously been interpreted as a retrogressive shift from
woody shrubs to a herbaceous community. The detailed plant macrofossil data show the shift is the
replacement of an Empetrum arctic heathland by grassland and moist sedge communities. These taxa
dominate the modern landscape.
TidsskriftQuaternary Research
Udgave nummer2
Sider (fra-til)163-172
Antal sider10
StatusUdgivet - 2010
Udgivet eksterntJa