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Title: Two hundred years of environmental change in picos de Europa National Park inferred from sediments of Lago Enol, northern Iberia
Authors: Lopez-Merino, L
Moreno, A
Leira, M
Sigro, J
Gonzalez-Samperiz, P
Valero-Garces, BL
Lopez-Saez, JA
Brunet, M
Aguilar, E
Keywords: Picos de Europa National Park;Anthropogenic impact;Little Ice Age;Geochemistry;Pollen;Diatoms
Issue Date: 2011
Publisher: Springer
Citation: JJournal of Paleolimnology, 46, (3), pp. 453 - 467, (2011)
Abstract: We present a study of two short sediment cores recovered from Lago Enol, in the Picos de Europa National Park, Cantabrian Mountains, northern Iberia. We inferred past climate conditions and anthropogenic impacts using geochemical and biological (pollen and diatoms) variables in the dated sequences, in conjunction with temperature and precipitation data collected since 1871 at meteorological stations in the region. The record provides evidence of environmental changes during the last 200 years. At the end of the Little Ice Age (*1800–1875 AD) the region was characterized by an open landscape. Longterm use of the area for mixed livestock grazing in the mountains, and cultivation of rye during the nineteenth century, contributed to the expansion of grassland at the expense of forest. Warmer temperatures since the end of the nineteenth century are inferred from a change in diatom assemblages and development of the local forest. Socioeconomic transformation during the twentieth century, such as livestock changes related to dairy specialization, planting of non-native trees, mining activities, and management of the national park since its creation in 1918, caused profound changes in the catchment and in the lake ecology. The last several decades (*1970–2007 AD) of the Lago Enol sediment record are strikingly different from previous periods, indicating lower runoff and increasing lake productivity, particularly since AD 2000. Today, the large number of tourists who visit the area cause substantial impacts on this ecosystem.
Appears in Collections:Dept of Life Sciences Research Papers

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