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Islands of change vs. islands of disaster : Managing pigs and birds in the Anthropocene of the North Atlantic.

Brewington, S. and Hicks, H. and Edwald, Á. and Einarsson, Á. and Anamthawat-Jónsson, K. and Cook, G. and Ascough, P. and Sayle, K.L. and Arge, S.V. and Church, M.J. and Bond, J. and Dockrill, S. and Friðriksson, A. and Hambrecht, G. and Juliusson, A.D. and Hreinsson, V. and Hartman, S. and Smiarowski, K. and Harrison, R. and McGovern, T.H. (2015) 'Islands of change vs. islands of disaster : Managing pigs and birds in the Anthropocene of the North Atlantic.', The Holocene., 25 (10). pp. 1676-1684.


The offshore islands of the North Atlantic were among some of the last settled places on earth, with humans reaching the Faroes and Iceland in the late Iron Age and Viking period. While older accounts emphasizing deforestation and soil erosion have presented this story of island colonization as yet another social–ecological disaster, recent archaeological and paleoenvironmental research combined with environmental history, environmental humanities, and bioscience is providing a more complex understanding of long-term human ecodynamics in these northern islands. An ongoing interdisciplinary investigation of the management of domestic pigs and wild bird populations in Faroes and Iceland is presented as an example of sustained resource management using local and traditional knowledge to create structures for successful wild fowl management on the millennial scale.

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Publisher statement:This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 License ( which permits non-commercial use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access page (
Date accepted:15 May 2015
Date deposited:15 July 2016
Date of first online publication:01 July 2015
Date first made open access:No date available

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