Early land use and centennial scale changes in lake-water organic carbon prior to contemporary monitoring
2015 (English)In: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, ISSN 0027-8424, E-ISSN 1091-6490, Vol. 112, no 21, 6579-6584 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Organic carbon concentrations have increased in surface waters across parts of Europe and North America during the past decades, but the main drivers causing this phenomenon are still debated. A lack of observations beyond the last few decades inhibits a better mechanistic understanding of this process and thus a reliable prediction of future changes. Here we present past lake-water organic carbon trends inferred from sediment records across central Sweden that allow us to assess the observed increase on a centennial to millennial time scale. Our data show the recent increase in lake-water carbon but also that this increase was preceded by a landscape-wide, long-term decrease beginning already A. D. 1450-1600. Geochemical and biological proxies reveal that these dynamics coincided with an intensification of human catchment disturbance that decreased over the past century. Catchment disturbance was driven by the expansion and later cessation of widespread summer forest grazing and farming across central Scandinavia. Our findings demonstrate that early land use strongly affected past organic carbon dynamics and suggest that the influence of historical landscape utilization on contemporary changes in lake-water carbon levels has thus far been underestimated. We propose that past changes in land use are also a strong contributing factor in ongoing organic carbon trends in other regions that underwent similar comprehensive changes due to early cultivation and grazing over centuries to millennia.
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
National Academy of Sciences , 2015. Vol. 112, no 21, 6579-6584 p.
lake-water quality, carbon cycling, land use, Holocene, paleoecology
Other Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
IdentifiersURN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-105255DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1501505112ISI: 000355213200034PubMedID: 25964363OAI: oai:DiVA.org:umu-105255DiVA: diva2:825657