Modeling Historic Rangeland Management and Grazing Pressures in Landscapes of Settlement



Thomson AM & Simpson I (2007) Modeling Historic Rangeland Management and Grazing Pressures in Landscapes of Settlement. Human Ecology, 35 (2), pp. 151-168.

Defining historic grazing pressures and rangeland management is vital if early landscape threshold crossing and long–term trajectories of landscape change are to be properly understood. In this paper we use a new environmental simulation model, Búmodel, to assess two contrasting historical grazing landscapes in Mývatnssveit Iceland for two key periods—the colonization period (ca. Landnám, A.D. 872–1000) and the early eighteenth century A.D. Results suggest that there were spatial and temporal variations in productivity and grazing pressure within and between historic grazing areas and indicate that land degradation was not an inevitable consequence of the livestock grazing introduced with settlement. The results also demonstrate the significance of grazing and livestock management strategies in preventing overgrazing, particularly under cooler climatic conditions. The model enables detailed consideration of historic grazing management scenarios and their associated landscape pressures.

historical ecology; Iceland; agro-ecosystem modeling; rangeland management

Human Ecology: Volume 35, Issue 2

Publication date30/04/2007
PublisherSpringer Verlag

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Professor Ian Simpson

Professor Ian Simpson

Professor, Biological and Environmental Sciences