High-resolution palynology reveals the land-use history of a Sami renvall in northern Sweden

Ilse Kamerling, J. Edward Schofield, Kevin J. Edwards, Kjell-Åke Aronsson

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17 Citations (Scopus)
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The limited availability of historical and archaeological evidence means that much is still unknown about the development of Sami reindeer herding in Fennoscandia in both the recent and more distant past. To address this problem, high-resolution palynological analyses, 14C and 210Pb dating were undertaken on two adjacent (<25 m apart) peat profiles collected at a recently abandoned reindeer gathering pen (renvall) near Jokkmokk (~66.6°N, 19.8°E) in the boreal forest of northern Sweden. The aim was to assess the impact of Sami reindeer herding on the local environment through a study of pollen, coprophilous fungal spores, microscopic charcoal and sedimentology. The samples collected from within an annex to the renvall indicate cycles of use and abandonment of the pen on a multi-decadal timescale between ~ad 1800–2008, most obviously in the coprophilous fungal spore archive. The pattern and timing of these cycles confirm events previously known only from oral histories. Although the local pollen assemblage zones associated with the phasing of activity were reproducible in a second peat core beyond the boundary of the renvall, the coprophilous fungal spore signal in this paired profile was much less distinctive, possibly due to the typically shorter dispersal distances for these microfossils in comparison to pollen grains.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)369-388
Number of pages20
JournalVegetation History and Archaeobotany
Issue number4
Early online date18 Nov 2016
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2017


  • forest Sami
  • boreal forest
  • reindeer herding
  • pollen analysis
  • coprophilous fungal spores


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