Holocene vegetation development in the catchment of Sagistalsee (1935 m asl), a small lake in the Swiss Alps

Wick, Lucia; van Leeuwen, Jacqueline; van der Knaap, Willem Oscar; Lotter, André F. (2003). Holocene vegetation development in the catchment of Sagistalsee (1935 m asl), a small lake in the Swiss Alps. Journal of Paleolimnology, 30(3), pp. 261-272. Kluwer Academic 10.1023/A:1026088914129

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Pollen and plant macrofossils were analysed at Sägistalsee (1935 m asl), a small lake near timber-line in the Swiss Northern Alps. Open forests with Pinus cembra and Abies alba covered the catchment during the early Holocene (9000–6300 cal. BP), suggesting subcontinental climate conditions. After the expansion of Picea abies between 6300 and 6000 cal. BP the subalpine forest became denser and the tree-line reached its maximum elevation at around 2260 m asl. Charcoal fragments in the macrofossil record indicate the beginning of Late-Neolithic human impact at ca. 4400 cal. BP, followed by a extensive deforestation and lowering of the forest-limit in the catchment of Sägistalsee at 3700 cal. BP (Bronze Age). Continuous human activity, combined with a more oceanic climate during the later Holocene, led to the local extinction of Pinus cembra and Abies alba and favoured the mass expansion of Picea and Alnus viridis in the subalpine area of the Northern Alps. The periods before 6300 and after 3700 cal. BP are characterised by high erosion activity in the lake's catchment, whereas during the phase of dense Picea-Pinus cembra-Abies forests (6300–3700 cal. BP) soils were stable and sediment-accumulation rates in the lake were low. Due to decreasing land-use at higher altitudes during the Roman occupation and the Migration period, forests spread beween ca. 2000 and 1500 cal. BP, before human impact increased again in the early Middle Ages. Recent reforestation due to land-use changes in the 20th century is recorded in the top sediments. Pollen-inferred July temperature and annual precipitation suggest a trend to cooler and more oceanic climate starting at about 5500 cal. BP.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

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:

van Leeuwen, Jacqueline; van der Knaap, Willem Oscar and Lotter, André F.

Subjects:

500 Science > 580 Plants (Botany)

ISSN:

0921-2728

Publisher:

Kluwer Academic

Language:

English

Submitter:

Peter Alfred von Ballmoos-Haas

Date Deposited:

07 Dec 2015 09:42

Last Modified:

07 Dec 2015 09:42

Publisher DOI:

10.1023/A:1026088914129

Uncontrolled Keywords:

Northern Alps, Palynology, Plant macrofossils, Holocene, Human impact, Climatic change

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.73347

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/73347

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