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Past environmental conditions and human activities as recorded in soils, palaeosols, landforms and vegetation (co-organized)
Convener: Anna Schneider  | Co-Conveners: Daniela Sauer , Alexander Makeev , Giovanni Mastrolonardo , Florian Hirsch , Elisa Carrari , Olga Khokhlova 
 / Thu, 12 Apr, 13:30–17:00
 / Attendance Thu, 12 Apr, 17:30–19:00

This session focusses on the analysis of soils, palaeosols and landforms as archives of environmental changes and human-environmental interactions from Palaeolithic to modern times. In general, soils develop under the influence of various environmental factors that produce specific soil features. Thus, the observation of certain features in palaeosols may be used for environmental reconstruction. In addition, over the Holocene period, human activity increasingly shaped many environments, resulting in characteristic modifications of the land surface and soils over time. Widespread examples for such anthropogenic legacies are traces of agriculture and mining, charcoal hearth sites, burial mounds and ancient fortification walls. Buried soils in the context of such sites record the combinations of environmental factors that were present during the time of their formation and thus influenced the human communities living at these sites at that time.
This session includes both, studies in which soils, palaeosols and landforms are used as records of former environments that influenced human societies and, vice versa, as records of the influence of these societies on their environment.
Altered soils and landforms resulting from human activity also affect present-day ecosystems. In fact, these sites often differ from their surroundings with respect to their soil chemical and physical properties, resulting in increased heterogeneity - not only of the soils and landforms but also of the associated ecosystems. As a consequence of their specific ecological conditions, the sites can exhibit e.g. altered species composition and diversity.
So, in this session we welcome contributions on (1) the influence of environmental factors on pedogenesis, (2) the use of soils and palaeosols as records of present and former environments, (3) advances in geochemical, (sub-)microscopic and other techniques in (palaeo-)pedology, (4) mapping and analyzing anthropogenic relief features, e.g., using remote sensing and digital elevation models, (5) effects of anthropogenic landforms and soils on ecosystems, (6) evaluating the archaeological relevance and heritage value as well as developing conservation strategies for palaeosols representing valuable palaeoenvironmental archives and for certain anthropogenic landforms and soils.