Human and climatic impact on mires: a case study of Les Amburnex mire, Swiss Jura Mountains

Modern period long-term human and climatic impacts on a small mire in the Jura Mountains were assessed using testate amoebae, macrofossils and pollen. This multiproxy data analysis permitted detailed interpretations of local and regional environmental change and thus a partial disentanglement of the different variables that influence long-term mire development. From the Middle Ages until A.D. 1700 the mire vegetation was characterised by ferns, Caltha and Vaccinium, but then abruptly changed into the modern vegetation characterised by Cyperaceae, Potentilla and Sphagnum. The cause for this change was most probably deforestation, possibly enhanced by climatic cooling. A decrease in trampling intensity by domestic animals from A.D. 1950 onwards allowed Sphagnum growth and climatic warming in the A.D. 1980s and 1990s may have been responsible for considerable changes in the species composition. The mire investigated is an example of the rapid changes in mire vegetation and peat development that occurred throughout the central European mountain region during the past centuries as a result of changing climate and land-use practice. These processes are still active today and will determine the future development of high-laltitude mires.

Published in:
Vegetation History and Archaeobotany, 17, 185-197

 Record created 2008-11-07, last modified 2018-01-28

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