Tropical Andean glacier reveals colonial legacy in modern mountain ecosystems

Brügger, Sandra O.; Gobet, Erika; Osmont, Dimitri; Behling, Hermann; Fontana, Sonia L.; Hooghiemstra, Henry; Morales-Molino, César; Sigl, Michael; Schwikowski, Margit; Tinner, Willy (2019). Tropical Andean glacier reveals colonial legacy in modern mountain ecosystems. Quaternary Science Reviews, 220, pp. 1-13. Elsevier 10.1016/j.quascirev.2019.06.032

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The extent of pre-Columbian land use and its legacy on modern ecosystems, plant associations, and species distributions of the Americas is still hotly debated. To address this gap, we present a Holocene palynological record (pollen, spores, microscopic charcoal, SCP analyses) from Illimani glacier with exceptional temporal resolution and chronological control close to the center of Inca activities around Lake Titicaca in Bolivia. Our results suggest that Holocene fire activity was largely climate-driven and pre-Columbian agropastoral and agroforestry practices had moderate (large-scale) impacts on plant communities. Unprecedented human-shaped vegetation emerged after AD 1740 following the establishment of novel colonial land use practices and was reinforced in the modern era after AD 1950 with intensified coal consumption and industrial plantations of Pinus and Eucalyptus. Although agroforestry practices date back to the Incas, the recent vast afforestation with exotic monocultures together with rapid climate warming and associated fire regime changes may provoke unprecedented and possibly irreversible ecological and environmental alterations.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

10 Strategic Research Centers > Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research (OCCR)
08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Plant Sciences (IPS) > Palaeoecology
08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Plant Sciences (IPS)

UniBE Contributor:

Brügger, Sandra Olivia; Gobet, Erika; Morales del Molino, Cesar and Tinner, Willy

Subjects:

500 Science > 580 Plants (Botany)

ISSN:

0277-3791

Publisher:

Elsevier

Language:

English

Submitter:

Peter Alfred von Ballmoos-Haas

Date Deposited:

27 Aug 2019 08:04

Last Modified:

23 Oct 2019 11:31

Publisher DOI:

10.1016/j.quascirev.2019.06.032

Related URLs:

Uncontrolled Keywords:

Glaciology; Holocene; Illimani ice core; Microscopic charcoal; Pollen; Puna; Pre-Columbian land use; SCP (spheroidal carbonaceous particles); Cloud forest (Yungas); South America

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.132579

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/132579

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