Climate, Environment and Human Impact on the Central Alps during the Holocene

The Alps, FimbatalHigh mountain regions like the Silvretta between Switzerland and Austria are highly sensitive to climatic changes. The project focuses on the development of the region during the Holocene, on the influence of climate on sedimentary process, and on the human/cultural adaptation to environmental changes.

While large Alpine lakes have been studied in detail since long, the sedimentary record of micro bogs has been mostly neglected. However, they provide a number of advantages as sedimentary archives: even though they are often located in remote sites, they can be found in the direct vicinity of Alpine pastures or high passes. Thus, these bogs record changes in land cover (ice, vegetation), and land use (forest, grassland) on a local scale, while large lakes integrate environmental signals over a much larger area.

The Alps, Piller MoorHence, micro bogs provide better information on regional or local heterogeneity, which is currently gaining more and more importance in environmental research. Starting in the Silvretta region as a key test site, the project investigates the sedimentology and geochemistry of micro bogs and will compare the climatic history based on several chemical proxies with the vegetation history as reconstructed from the pollen record.