Alpine Glacier Reveals Ecosystem Impacts of Europe’s Prosperity and Peril Over the Last Millennium

Brügger, S. O.; Schwikowski, M.; Gobet, E.; Schwörer, C.; Rohr, C.; Sigl, M.; Henne, S.; Pfister, Christian; Jenk, T.M.; Henne, Paul D.; Tinner, W. (2021). Alpine Glacier Reveals Ecosystem Impacts of Europe’s Prosperity and Peril Over the Last Millennium. Geophysical Research Letters, 48(20), pp. 1-12. American Geophysical Union 10.1029/2021GL095039

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Information about past ecosystem dynamics and human activities is stored in the ice of Colle Gnifetti glacier in the Swiss Alps. Adverse climatic intervals incurred crop failures and famines and triggered reestablishment of forest vegetation but also societal resilience through innovation. Historical documents and lake sediments record these changes at local—regional scales but often struggle to comprehensively document continental-scale impacts on ecosystems. Here, we provide unique multiproxy evidence of broad-scale ecosystem, land use, and climate dynamics over the past millennium from a Colle Gnifetti microfossil and oxygen isotope record. Microfossil data indicate that before 1750 CE forests and fallow land rapidly replaced crop cultivation during historically documented societal crises caused by climate shifts and epidemics. Subsequently, with technology and the introduction of more resilient crops, European societies adapted to the Little Ice Age cold period, but resource overexploitation and industrialization led to new regional to global-scale environmental challenges.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of History and Archaeology > Institute of History > Economic, Social and Environmental History
08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Plant Sciences (IPS)
06 Faculty of Humanities > Department of History and Archaeology > Institute of History
08 Faculty of Science > Physics Institute > Climate and Environmental Physics
10 Strategic Research Centers > Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research (OCCR)
08 Faculty of Science > Department of Chemistry, Biochemistry and Pharmaceutical Sciences (DCBP)
08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Plant Sciences (IPS) > Palaeoecology

UniBE Contributor:

Brügger, Sandra Olivia; Schwikowski, Margit; Gobet, Erika; Schwörer, Christoph; Rohr, Christian; Sigl, Michael; Pfister, Christian; Henne, Paul Daniel and Tinner, Willy

Subjects:

500 Science > 570 Life sciences; biology
300 Social sciences, sociology & anthropology
500 Science > 580 Plants (Botany)
500 Science > 540 Chemistry
500 Science > 530 Physics
900 History
900 History > 940 History of Europe

ISSN:

0094-8276

Publisher:

American Geophysical Union

Language:

English

Submitter:

Christian Rohr

Date Deposited:

20 Oct 2021 14:22

Last Modified:

09 Nov 2021 07:33

Publisher DOI:

10.1029/2021GL095039

BORIS DOI:

10.48350/160061

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/160061

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