Multiproxy study of anthropogenic and climatic changes in the last two millennia from a small mire in central Poland

Hydrobiologia (Impact Factor: 2.28). 05/2010; 631(1):213-230. DOI: 10.1007/978-90-481-3387-1_13
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The Żabieniec kettle hole is the first peatland in central Poland analyzed quantitatively with four biotic proxies (plant macrofossils, pollen, testate amoebae and chironomids) to reconstruct the past environmental change. Palaeoecological data were supported by historical and archaeological records. We focused on autogenic vegetation change and human impact in relation to climatic effects. The aims of our study were (a) to describe the development history of the mire during the last 2,000 years, (b) to date and reconstruct the anthropogenic land-use changes and (c) to discuss a possible climatic signal in the peat archive. The combination of proxies revealed dramatic shifts that took place in the peatland since the Roman Period.Żabieniec was a very wet telmatic habitat until ca. AD 600. Then, the water table declined, and the site transformed into a Sphagnum-dominated mire. This dry shift took place mainly during the Early Medieval Period. Human impact was gradually increasing, and it was particularly emphasized by deforestation since AD 1250 (beginning of the Late Medieval Period). Consequently, surface run-off and aeolian transport from the exposed soils caused the eutrophication of the mire. Furthermore, chironomids and testate
amoebae reveal the beginning of a wet shift ca. AD 1350. Openness considerably increased in the Late Medieval and the Modern Periods. The highest water table during the last 1,000 years was recorded between AD 1500 and 1800. This wet event is connected with deforestation, but it could be also associated with the Little Ice Age. Our study shows plant succession in the Żabieniec peatland, which can be explained with the recent landscape transformation. However, such changes are also possibly linked with the major climatic episodes during the last two millennia, such as the Medieval Warm Period and the Little Ice Age.

KeywordsCentral Poland-Kettle hole-Testate amoebae-Pollen-Macrofossils-Human impact-Climate-Environmental archaeology

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Available from: Mateusz Płóciennik
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    • "In Pomerania, scientific interests were focused on two regions: Tuchola Forest (e.g. Milecka, 2005; Milecka & Szeroczyn´ska, 2005; Lamentowicz & Obremska, 2010) and ombrotrophic, Baltic mires (De Vleeschouwer et al., 2009; Lamentowicz et al., 2009b). "
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    ABSTRACT: Reconstruction of past climate change and ecosystem response is important to correctly assess the impacts of global warming. In this study, we provide a paleoenvironmental record of in-lake and catchment changes in northern Poland during the Late Glacial and early Holocene using various biotic proxies (pollen, macrofossils and Cladocera) preserved in the lake sedimentary record. Chronology was derived from palynological correlation with a well-dated pollen sequence from nearby-lying Lake Ostrowite and some well-dated events of vegetation history in Central Europe. Pollen analysis provided information on regional climate change affecting vegetation dynamics, whereas macrofossils supplied substantial information on the response of local flora and fauna to climatic, geomorphological and limnological changes. Data were supplemented by analysis of Cladocera remains, which are of special importance because of their quick response to changes in trophic conditions and climate (especially temperature). The bottom of the sediment core reflects an initial stage of the lake formed during the late Alleröd. The Younger Dryas cooling apparently resulted in forest recession and presence of cold tolerant Cladocera species. Due to amelioration of climate at the end of the Younger Dryas and melting of ice, the lake deepened. The beginning of the Holocene was characterised by forest shrinkage and induced clear changes in local flora and fauna communities. The regional vegetation development deduced from the lake’s core is generally consistent with the vegetation history of central Europe. Due to the location of the site near the seashore (oceanic climate and western wind), signals of warming came earlier than inland and in eastern Poland. KeywordsClimate changes–Lake ecosystem–Late Glacial/Holocene–Northern Poland–Palaeoecology
    Full-text · Article · Nov 2011 · Hydrobiologia
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    • "At the same time there was a rapid change in the bog ecosystem as shown by changes in the chironomid assemblages. This aspect of the chironomid analysis is presented in more detail by Lamentowicz et al. (2009). A change in the chironomid assemblage at 46 cm (620 cal. "
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    ABSTRACT: Subfossil Chironomidae assemblages were studied in a sediment sequence from Żabieniec bog in central Poland. The climate history and habitat changes in the palaeo-lake were reconstructed from these assemblages. Currently no chironomid-based climate calibration set is available from Poland and so past mean July air temperatures were inferred from chironomid-climate calibration data-sets from Norway, Russia, and Switzerland. During the Late Weichselian the three calibration functions from these data-sets provided similar temperature inferences but there was some divergence in the reconstructions for the Younger Dryas and Holocene. In the late Pleniglacial, inferred summer air temperature was relatively low (8–12 °C) and the lake was oligotrophic. At about 16.5 ka BP, temperature rapidly rose to 15 °C and assemblage diversity substantially increased. During the interstadial, temperature stayed at this level. In the Younger Dryas, July air temperature was only 1–2 °C lower than in the interstadial, as inferred from the Norwegian calibration data-set, whereas the Russian and Swiss calibration functions did not indicate any temperature decrease. From the beginning of the Holocene, taxa typical of meso-eutrophic conditions dominated. There was an increased abundance of phytophilous species and the assemblage composition was also influenced by changes in water-level. Palaeotemperature reconstructions differed in their values. From 8.0 to 8.7 ka BP, inferences based on the Swiss and Russian data-sets indicated a cold oscillation while reconstructions based on the Norwegian data-set did not show any temperature decrease. After 2.5 ka BP assemblage diversity and head-capsule concentrations decreased. In the last millennium semi-terrestrial taxa dominated, except from Late Medieval to Early Modern times when shallow-water species reappeared.
    Full-text · Article · Jul 2011 · Palaeogeography Palaeoclimatology Palaeoecology
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