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Lake ecosystem responses to catchment disturbance and airborne pollution: an 800-year perspective in southern Sweden
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Ecology and Genetics, Limnology.
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2013 (English)In: Journal of Paleolimnology, ISSN 0921-2728, E-ISSN 1573-0417, Vol. 50, no 4, 545-560 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Sediment sequences spanning the last 800 years from two small lakes in the south Swedish uplands were explored for assessment of effects of changing human population, local land-use practices and airborne pollution on lake-ecosystem functioning and resilience. Variations in nutrient cycling and deposition of lithogenic elements were studied, using a multi-proxy stratigraphic approach. Carbon and nitrogen elemental and isotopic analyses were applied in combination with records of hydrocarbons (n-alkanes) to investigate the sources and depositional conditions of sediment organic matter. Changes in fluvial and airborne delivery of inorganic matter were based on X-ray fluorescence measurements. The results reveal that population growth and related increases in land-use pressure had a major impact on catchment erosion and input of terrestrial organic matter to the lakes from the 1500s to the end of the 1800s. Evidence also exists of a brief period of catchment disturbance at ca. 1200-1300, followed by recovery, likely connected to the Black Death pandemic. At ca. 1900 synchronous shifts in most of the proxy records suggest a marked change in external forcing common to the two lakes related to a major decrease in population density and the introduction of modern forestry following the industrial revolution. Interestingly, the two sediment records exhibit generally coherent trends in C/N ratio, organic C content and delta C-13, both before and after 1900, indicating broadly similar sensitivities of the lake ecosystems to human impact. In contrast, deviating trends in total N content, delta N-15 and lithogenic element concentrations (K, Ti, Rb and Zr) reflect site-specific responses to local disturbances during the last century due to different nutrient conditions and catchment properties. Our companion sediment records highlight the importance of understanding long-term human impact on watersheds and demonstrate how regional versus local forcing of lake ecosystems, as well as site-specific responses related to catchment characteristics can be reconstructed.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. Vol. 50, no 4, 545-560 p.
Keyword [en]
Land-use change, Human impact, Lake sediments, Stable isotopes, Inorganic elements, Hydrocarbons
National Category
Natural Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-212303DOI: 10.1007/s10933-013-9746-2ISI: 000326622200010OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-212303DiVA: diva2:677741
Available from: 2013-12-10 Created: 2013-12-09 Last updated: 2013-12-10Bibliographically approved

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Choudhary, Preetam
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