Trapote, M. C., V. Rull, S. Giralt, J. P. Corella, E. Montoya, and T. Vegas-Vilarrúbia (2018), High-resolution (sub-decadal) pollen analysis of varved sediments from Lake Montcortès (southern Pyrenean flank): A fine-tuned record of landscape dynamics and human impact during the last 500 years, Review of Palaeobotany and Palynology, 259, 207-222, doi:


A high-resolution (average 6 years/sampling interval) palaeoenvironmental reconstruction using pollen, charcoal and non-pollen palynomorphs was carried out on annually laminated sediments of Lake Montcortès (southern Pyrenean flank). The results were combined with historical data to better understand landscape evolution and human interaction during the last 500 years. Our results show that human activities (cropping, livestock breeding and hemp cultivation and retting) have been the most important factors responsible for vegetation changes with highest intensity between 1530 and 1900 CE. By means of a sub-decadal study we have been able to evaluate short-lasting events at local and regional scales related to climate (heavy rainfall events and, high-land forest fluctuations) or to historical and well-dated and documented socio-economic events (i.e., crop promotions (hemp) or land abandonment-population emigration). The temporal extent (400 years) and continuity of Cannabis pollen peak have been confirmed, and new evidence of water quality changes, likely as a consequence of hemp retting practices between the mid-17th to late 19th century, are provided. This is the first high-resolution palaeoenvironmental study carried out in a varved lake on the Iberian Peninsula so far. With these data we hope to contribute to filling the gap in high-resolution palaeoenvironmental data.

Reference article

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