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SSS3.4 Media

Geomorphological and (palaeo-)pedological records of natural environmental factors and human impact
Convener: Daniela Sauer  | Co-Convener: Florian Hirsch 
 / Fri, 28 Apr, 15:30–17:15
 / Attendance Fri, 28 Apr, 17:30–19:00

Relief, soils and palaeosols represent valuable records of present and past environmental conditions and human activities in different periods.
Various small-scale anthropogenic relief features exist as legacies of (pre-)historic human land occupation. Widespread examples are ridge and furrow systems, agricultural terraces, burial mounds and charcoal kiln sites. Besides the modification of the relief, the anthropogenic influence has mostly also altered the soils of such sites. Often they differ from the surrounding landscapes in soil chemistry or soil physical properties. As a consequence, anthropogenic relief features can have specific ecological conditions and therefore affect, e.g., plant growth, species composition or soil development resulting in a diversified landscape.
Palaeosols provide two-fold information: Firstly, they reflect the environmental conditions in which the respective human societies lived. Secondly, also human activities are recorded in the palaeosols (analogous to the above-mentioned surface soils affected by anthropogenic activities). However, profound knowledge on causal relationships between natural / anthropogenic factors and resulting soil processes / soil properties are needed for appropriate interpretation of these palaeosol records. The required knowledge on causal relationships can be derived from modern analogues, i.e., from modern soils that have developed under a known combination of natural / anthropogenic factors.
In this session, we welcome contributions on all aspects discussed above:
A) studies focusing on different anthropogenic relief features, working on various scales and in different ecosystems in order to compare the legacy effects of different land use types and to make connections between small-scale anthropogenic relief features and their surrounding environment,
B) contributions that approach the ecological significance of small-scale anthropogenic relief features by (1) mapping their occurrence, e.g., using remote sensing data, digital elevation models, or field surveys (2) analysing their specific soil and sedimentological characteristics and their effects on plants and ecosystems, (3) exploring ecological interactions and interdependencies between anthropogenic relief features and their surrounding landscape, (4) studying ecological succession on anthropogenically influenced sites,
C) contributions on the interpretation of palaeosols, both with respect to natural palaeoenvironmental conditions and human activities reflected in the palaeosols,
D) studies on causal relationships between environmental / anthropogenic factors and resulting soil-forming processes, soil mineralogical and -chemical composition and soil-physical characteristics, obtained from analysing modern soils in well-defined environments.