Middle to Late Holocene vegetation history of the Upper Engadine (Swiss Alps): the role of man and fire

Gobet, Erika; Tinner, Willy; Hochuli, P. A.; van Leeuwen, Jacqueline; Ammann, Brigitta (2003). Middle to Late Holocene vegetation history of the Upper Engadine (Swiss Alps): the role of man and fire. Vegetation History and Archaeobotany, 12(3), pp. 143-163. Springer-Verlag 10.1007/s00334-003-0017-4

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o reconstruct the vegetation and fire history of the Upper Engadine, two continuous sediment cores from Lej da Champfèr and Lej da San Murezzan (Upper Engadine Valley, southeastern Switzerland) were analysed for pollen, plant macrofossils, charcoal and kerogen. The chronologies of the cores are based on 38 radiocarbon dates. Pollen and macrofossil data suggest a rapid afforestation with Betula, Pinus sylvestris, Pinus cembra, and Larix decidua after the retreat of the glaciers from the lake catchments 11,000 cal years ago. This vegetation type persisted until ca. 7300 cal b.p. (5350 b.c.) when Picea replaced Pinus cembra. Pollen indicative of human impact suggests that in this high-mountain region of the central Alps strong anthropogenic activities began during the Early Bronze Age (3900 cal b.p., 1950 b.c.). Local human settlements led to vegetational changes, promoting the expansion of Larix decidua and Alnus viridis. In the case of Larix, continuing land use and especially grazing after fire led to the formation of Larix meadows. The expansion of Alnus viridis was directly induced by fire, as evidenced by time-series analysis. Subsequently, the process of forest conversion into open landscapes continued for millennia and reached its maximum at the end of the Middle Ages at around 500 cal b.p. (a.d. 1450).

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:

Gobet, Erika; Tinner, Willy; van Leeuwen, Jacqueline and Ammann, Brigitta

Subjects:

500 Science > 580 Plants (Botany)

ISSN:

0939-6314

Publisher:

Springer-Verlag

Language:

English

Submitter:

Peter Alfred von Ballmoos-Haas

Date Deposited:

07 Dec 2015 09:35

Last Modified:

26 Jun 2018 15:17

Publisher DOI:

10.1007/s00334-003-0017-4

Uncontrolled Keywords:

Larix decidua, Alnus viridi,s Central Alps, High-resolution palynology, Cross correlations, Human impact

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.73350

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/73350

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