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1 August 2013 Surviving the Winter in Northern Forests: An Experimental Study of Fuelwood Consumption and Living Space in a Sami Tent Hut
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Abstract
Subsistence in northern regions with cold climate and long winters relies to a large extent on fuelwood access and logistics. The preferred sources of fuelwood in pre-industrial times in northern Scandinavia were dead standing Scots pine trees. To assess historical impacts of Sami settlement sites on surrounding forests, and effects of burning wood on living conditions inside their huts, we burned pine wood in a Sami tent hut during winter, as realistically as possible, then analyzed fuelwood consumption, temperatures, and CO levels inside it. Hourly wood consumption rates ranged from 5.0 to 7.4 kg, corresponding to an estimated average annual consumption of ca. 22,000 kg or 42 m3 per hut. The smoke created by the fire and the low indoor temperature at the periphery of the hut limited the comfortable living space to approximately a third of the total space. We estimate that areas up to 300 m from settlements were used for fuelwood collection, but deliberate, recurring tree girdling to produce snags suitable for fuelwood might have reduced this area. Overall, the landscape impact of settlements was low, affecting less than 2.2% of the utilized lands. We conclude that experimental simulations of historical resource uses can provide valuable quantitative data for verifying or challenging qualitative interpretations and thoroughly modeling human effects on ecosystems over time.
© 2013 Regents of the University of Colorado
Lars Östlund, Lars Liedgren and Torbjörn Josefsson "Surviving the Winter in Northern Forests: An Experimental Study of Fuelwood Consumption and Living Space in a Sami Tent Hut," Arctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Research 45(3), (1 August 2013). https://doi.org/10.1657/1938-4246-45.3.372
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