Arctic terrestrial ecosystems subjected to anthropogenic disturbance return to their original state only slowly, if at all. Investigations of abandoned settlements on three islands in the eastern Canadian Arctic Archipelago have detected striking similarities among contemporary and ancient human settlements with regard to their effects on tundra vegetation and soils. Ordination procedures using 240 quadrats showed the plant assemblages of Thule (ca. 800 B.P.) winter dwellings on northern Devon and southern Cornwallis Islands to be floristically similar to pedestrian- trampled meadows on northeast Baffin Island last used ca. 1969. Comparisons from the literature made with other North American sites in the Low Arctic reveal similar findings. The implication is that the depauperate flora of the Arctic has a limited number of species able to respond to disturbance, and that anthropogenically disturbed patches may be extremely persistent.
|Number of pages||14|
|Publication status||Published - 1996|
|MoEC publication type||A1 Journal article-refereed|
Field of science
- Ecology, evolutionary biology