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Exploring eight millennia of climatic, vegetational and agricultural dynamics on the Swiss Plateau by using annually layered sedimentary time series

English title Exploring eight millennia of climatic, vegetational and agricultural dynamics on the Swiss Plateau by using annually layered sedimentary time series
Applicant Tinner Willy
Number 149203
Funding scheme Project funding (Div. I-III)
Research institution Institut für Pflanzenwissenschaften Universität Bern
Institution of higher education University of Berne - BE
Main discipline Other disciplines of Environmental Sciences
Start/End 01.11.2013 - 31.10.2017
Approved amount 335'245.00
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All Disciplines (3)

Discipline
Other disciplines of Environmental Sciences
Ecology
Environmental Research

Keywords (10)

landscape change; vegetation development; societal development; climate impacts; archaeology; varves; fire regime; climate change; Annually laminated sediment; land use

Lay Summary (German)

Lead
Das Mittelland ist die am dichtesten besiedelte Region der Schweiz. Die zentrale Position ist durch günstige Umweltfaktoren bedingt wie sanfte Landschaft, mildes Klima und fruchtbare Böden. Voruntersuchungen zeigen, dass im Zentrum des Mittellandes 25 km nordöstlich der Stadt Bern ein einmaliges, jährlich geschichtetes Umweltarchiv vorhanden ist, der Burgäschisee.
Lay summary

Dieses Projekt konzentriert sich auf die Untersuchung der Vegetations- und Feuerdynamik mit besonderer Betonung ihrer beiden wichtigsten Steuergrössen, Klimawandel und Landnutzung. Besonders interessieren uns komplexe Zusammenhänge wie die Wirkungen des Klimawandels auf vergangene Gesellschaften. Diese erfolgten vermutlich über die Landnutzung und insbesondere die wechselnden Ernteerträge. In diesem Projekt suchen wir auch nach einem zweiten Naturarchiv, der die gleichen Eigenschaften wie der Burgäschisee aufweist, unser bevorzugter Kandidat ist der Moossee bei Bern, der bisher nicht auf dieses Potenzial untersucht wurde. Um unser Ziel zu erreichen verwenden wir zur Untersuchung der jährlich geschichteten Ablagerungen geologische (z.B. Dünnschliffe, XRF, SRS), physikalische (z.B. Sauerstoffisotope) und biologische Ansätze (z.B. Pollen, Holzkohle, Makroreste, Muschelkrebse, Zuckmücken). Zudem wenden wir dynamische Vegetations- und Landschaftsmodelle an, um die vergangene Ökosystemdynamik zu simulieren. Diese Simulationen können in einem dritten Schritt mit den Daten aus den Sedimentreihen verglichen werden. 

Unsere Arbeit wird neue und wichtige Informationen zur Umwelt-, Feuer- und Vegetationsgeschichte liefern, insbesondere werden diese Daten erstmals eine Qualität und Präzision aufweisen, die den direkten Vergleich mit historischen, archäologischen und dendroökologischen Zeitreihen erlaubt. Die Ergebnisse werden ein besseres Verständnis der langfristigen Abhängigkeiten zwischen Klimawandel, Vegetation und Landnutzung ermöglichen. Dieses Verständnis wird dazu beitragen, künftige klimatisch bedingte Herausforderungen der Umwelt und der Gesellschaft besser einzugrenzen.  Der Einbezug von Langzeitdaten wird zur merklichen Verbesserung künftiger Massnahmenplanungen für Wald- und Landwirtschaft beitragen.

 

 

 

 

 

Direct link to Lay Summary Last update: 28.10.2013

Responsible applicant and co-applicants

Employees

Publications

Publication
Vegetational and agricultural dynamics at Burgäschisee (Swiss Plateau) recorded for 18,700 years mby multi-proxy evidnece from partly varved sediments
Rey F Gobet E van Leeuwen JFN Gilli A van Raden U Hafner A Wey O Rhiner J Schmocker D Zünd (2017), Vegetational and agricultural dynamics at Burgäschisee (Swiss Plateau) recorded for 18,700 years mby multi-proxy evidnece from partly varved sediments, in Vegetation History and Archaeobotany, 26, 571-586.

Collaboration

Group / person Country
Types of collaboration
Dr. Aldo Marchetto, Istituto per lo Studio degli Ecosistemi (ISE), CNR, Verbania-Pallanza Italy (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Prof. Dr. Martin Grosjean, Institute of Geography and OCCR, University of Bern Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure
Dr. B. Brandon Curry, Quaternary Geology Section, ISGS & University of Illinois (UIUC) United States of America (North America)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
Prof. Dr. Anselmetti, Institute of Geology, University of Bern Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication
- Research Infrastructure
Dr. Sönke Szidat, Environmental Chemistry, University of Bern Switzerland (Europe)
- in-depth/constructive exchanges on approaches, methods or results
- Publication

Associated projects

Number Title Start Funding scheme
152862 Beyond lake settlements: Studying Neolithic environmental changes and human impact at small lakes in Switzerland, Germany and Austria. 01.01.2015 Interdisciplinary projects
182084 Exploring prehistoric vegetational and agricultural dynamics using annually laminated sediment records from Central and Southern Europe (ECSE) 01.02.2019 Project funding (Div. I-III)

Abstract

The Swiss Plateau is the most densely populated area of Switzerland. Its central position results from favourable environmental conditions such as the gentle landscape, the mild climate and fertile soils, which are best suited for agriculture. Explorative studies conducted by the project applicants on own means during the past five years revealed a new promising palaeoenvironmental archive in the midst of the Swiss Plateau (25 km northeast of the City of Bern), the small lake Burgäschisee. The most special aspect of this lake is the presence of annually laminated sediments during substantial sections of the past 8000 years. Although some varved lacustrine records from Swiss lakes are documented, Burgäschisee offers for the first time the possibility to study mid and late Holocene ecosystem dynamics (including land use) with high chronological resolution (i.e. seasonal to multiannual) and high precision. In this project we focus on the vegetation and fire dynamics, with special emphasis on two underlaying forcing factors, climate change and land use. We are also interested in long-term complex systemic linkages such as the societal impact of climate changes, which may be primarily mediated through land use and particularly agricultural yields. The specific goals of this project are to:• Establish robust varve chronologies with the aid of sedimentology (e.g. thin sections) and novel non-destructive core scanning techniques (X-Ray Fluorescence, Scanning Reflectance Spectroscopy) for Burgäschisee. These ultra-high resolution techniques will not only provide the base for high chronological precision, but also deliver seasonally resolved data about e.g. lake productivity and detrital input. • Reconstruct at high temporal resolution (i.e. 1-10 years) past climate-land-use-fire-vegetation interactions using a multi-proxy approach including biotic (e.g. charcoal, pollen, macrofossils, ostracodes, diatoms) and non-biotic (e.g. oxygen isotopes, elemental composition) sedimentary records of environmental change in the varved sections of Burgäschisee. •Find a second site on the Swiss Plateau which can be used to reproduce the Burgäschisee data. The most promising candidate is Moossee a lake in the suburbs of Bern, ca. 20 km southwest of Burgäschisee. This lake has similar properties as Burgäschisee in terms of size, geology, water depth, vegetation, geomorphology and, therefore, the probability to recover varved sequences is high. Seismic surveys will reveal the best coring location. Once the cores are recovered sediments will be analysed with the same techniques as for Burgäschisee. •Use the dynamic LandClim vegetation and landscape model to disentangle climate and human impacts independently from the fossil record. This project will provide the first sedimentary off-site palaeoecological mid and late Holocene time series from the Swiss Plateau which can be directly compared with high precision and high resolution data from the archaeological or dendroecological record. Currently, the lack of high-resolution and high precision data impedes a thorough comparison between off-site sedimentary data and the archaeological record.
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