Landnám and the North Atlantic Flora

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

2 Citations (Scopus)


This chapter presents the available evidence for the impact of people on vegetation around the time of the ‘Scandinavian’ settlement of the North Atlantic islands. A common phenomenon around the time of landnám is the expansion in the pollen of Poaceae and/or Cyperaceae. These ubiquitous taxa have frequent fluctuations and declines throughout the Holocene spectra and cannot, alone, be designated as providing anthropogenic ‘footprints’. The Norse settlement of Iceland offered fresh opportunities for plants to migrate westwards with the wave of Norse colonists, resulting in the addition of a number of new species to the Icelandic flora. Reconstructions of the pre-settlement vegetation of Iceland contrast markedly with the currently open and exposed character of the landscape. A notable change to the flora of Greenland around the time of Norse settlement is the appearance and increase in Rumex acetosella.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBiogeography in the Sub-Arctic
Subtitle of host publicationThe Past and Future of North Atlantic Biota
EditorsEva Panagiotakopulu, Jon P. Sadler
Number of pages28
ISBN (Electronic)9781118561461
ISBN (Print)9781118561478
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2021


  • Greenland
  • Icelandic flora
  • landnám
  • Norse settlement
  • North Atlantic islands
  • pollen records
  • pre-settlement vegetation
  • Scandinavian' settlement


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