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Anthropogenic changes to the Holocene nitrogen cycle in Ireland

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journal contribution
posted on 12.08.2020, 10:52 by Eric Guiry, Fiona Beglane, Paul Szpak, Rick Schulting, Finbar McCormick, Michael P Richards
Humans have always affected their ecosystems, but finding evidence for significant and lasting changes to preindustrial landscapes is rare. We report on human-caused changes to the nitrogen cycle in Ireland in the Bronze Age, associated with intensification of agriculture and animal husbandry that resulted in long-term changes to the nitrogen isotope values of animals (wild and domesticates) during the Holocene. Major changes to inputs and cycling of soil nitrogen occurred through deforestation, land clearance and management, and more intensive animal husbandry and cereal crop cultivation in the later Bronze Age; after this time, the Irish landscape took on its current form. Within the debate concerning the onset of the Anthropocene, our data suggest that human activity in Ireland was significant enough in the Bronze Age to have long-term impact, thereby marking a profound shift in the relationship between humans and their environment.

Funding

This work was supported by the Wenner-Gren Foundation (Dissertation Fieldwork Research Grant Program), the Ireland Canada University Foundation (Craig Dobbin Fellowship Program), and the Centre for Environmental Research Innovation and Sustainability, Institute of Technology, Sligo

History

Citation

Anthropogenic changes to the Holocene nitrogen cycle in Ireland BY ERIC GUIRY, FIONA BEGLANE, PAUL SZPAK, RICK SCHULTING, FINBAR MCCORMICK, MICHAEL P. RICHARDS, SCIENCE ADVANCES, 13 JUN 2018 : EAAS9383

Version

VoR (Version of Record)

Published in

Science Advances

Volume

4

Issue

6

Pagination

eaas9383

Publisher

American Association for the Advancement of Science

issn

2375-2548

eissn

2375-2548

Acceptance date

30/04/2018

Copyright date

2018

Available date

12/08/2020

Spatial coverage

United States

Language

English

Publisher version

https://advances.sciencemag.org/content/4/6/eaas9383

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