Data from ice cores indicate that between AD 800 and 1300 the regions around the fjords of southern Greenland experienced a mild climate, with trees and herbaceous plants growing and livestock being farmed.
These Icelandic settlements vanished during the 14th and 15th centuries, likely due to famine and increasing conflicts with the Inuit. The condition of human bones from this period indicates that the Norse population was malnourished, probably because of soil erosion resulting from the Norsemen's destruction of natural vegetation to allow for farming, turf-cutting, and wood-cutting, because of a decline in temperatures during the Little Ice Age, and because of armed conflicts with the Inuit. Jared Diamond suggests that cultural practices, such as rejecting fish as a source of food and relying solely on livestock ill-adapted to Greenland's climate, changed by the so-called little ice age"
resulted in recurring famine which
with environmental degradation
led to abandonment of the colony. However
isotope analysis of the bones of inhabitants shows that marine food sources supplied more and more of the diet of the Norse Greenlanders
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