Vegetation History and Archaeobotany

, Volume 22, Issue 3, pp 215–229 | Cite as

The Fagus sylvatica forests in the Larvik region, south-eastern Norway: their origin and history

  • Anne E. BjuneEmail author
  • Ingeborg Helvik
  • H. John B. Birks
Original Article


The origin and developmental history of Fagus sylvatica forests in south-eastern Norway have been studied through pollen analysis and AMS radiocarbon-dating of peat from two small forest hollows. In this area F. sylvatica appears to have a long history, from the first occurrence of F. sylvatica pollen at ca. 9100 cal. b.p. to its local expansion ca. 1300–1200 cal. b.p. At this time a shift from a diverse landscape mosaic with many plant taxa present, including broad-leaved trees, to a less diverse landscape mosaic with Picea abies and F. sylvatica trees is interpreted from the pollen data. The long history of F. sylvatica suggests that the existing forests are not recent plantations, but implies that these forests are native. The presence of pollen indicative of anthropogenic activity combined with charcoal before the expansion of F. sylvatica, as well as comparison with data from nearby sites, suggest that the forest development was likely to be a result of human activity and climatic changes, particularly changes in moisture conditions.


Beech Forest hollow Norway Pollen analysis Picea Vegetation history 



We are grateful to Mikael Ohlson for providing the core and the material from Brånakollane, and to Kari Henningsmoen for access to unpublished work and the two anonymous reviewers for their comments. This is publication no. A 401 from the Bjerknes Centre for Climate Research.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Anne E. Bjune
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Ingeborg Helvik
    • 3
  • H. John B. Birks
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
    • 5
  1. 1.Uni Bjerknes CentreBergenNorway
  2. 2.Bjerknes Centre for Climate ResearchBergenNorway
  3. 3.Department of BiologyUniversity of BergenBergenNorway
  4. 4.Environmental Change Research Centre, University College LondonLondonUK
  5. 5.School of Geography and the Environment, University of OxfordOxfordUK

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