The ancient use ofPinus sylvestris L. (Scots pine) inner bark by Sami people in northern Sweden, related to cultural and ecological factors

Abstract

A multidisciplinary study of use by Sami people ofPinus sylvestris L. (Scots pine) inner bark was performed in northern Sweden. We combined linguistic, historical and archaeological records with ecological data collected from field studies to investigate important cultural and ecological factors associated with previous use of bark. Our data from bark peeled trees at 313 sites were used to describe patterns in space and time in the land-scape. Sites with bark peeled trees were mainly found in the central and northern part of Lapland (65°00′–68°14′N). Large numbers of barked trees were found in undisturbed forests in national parks and reserves but few were found in forests under commercial management. The dendroecological analysis revealed a continuous use of inner bark from A.D. 1450 to 1890. Large sheets of bark were taken from trees in the spring, prepared and stored as a staple food resource. Inner bark was eaten fresh, dried or roasted. Smaller bark peelings were used for the wrapping of sinews. The cessation of bark use in the 19th century was driven by several factors, but the availability of other products that could replace traditional use of bark was specifically important. The previous common and varied use of bark, the great age of Sami terminology and a possible association with archaeological remains of potential great age indicate that peeled bark was used long before the historic period. Our study also focused on the ongoing loss of culturally-modified trees in forests outside protected areas.

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Zackrisson, O., Östlund, L., Korhonen, O. et al. The ancient use ofPinus sylvestris L. (Scots pine) inner bark by Sami people in northern Sweden, related to cultural and ecological factors. Veget Hist Archaebot 9, 99–109 (2000). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01300060

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Key words

  • Pinus sylvestris
  • Bark-peeling
  • Food
  • Forest history
  • Sami