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Geochemical and lithologic response of an upland watershed over the past 800 years to landscape changes in Southern Burgundy, France.

Misner, Tamara (2014) Geochemical and lithologic response of an upland watershed over the past 800 years to landscape changes in Southern Burgundy, France. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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This study is an integrated analysis of the interaction between human and environmental systems within a small watershed in Southern Burgundy, France. The main objectives for this study were to understand the key environmental drivers for sediment erosion and nutrient availability in the watershed, and how those drivers were recorded in the pond sediment over the past 800 years. Future climate variability, interacting with land-use changes (e.g. intensification of agriculture) may have detrimental impacts on water quality, water availability, and crop yields in the Burgundy region. Thus, the examination of historical human landscape changes and interactions with climate in Burgundy can provide scientific data that policy makers and farmers can use to move toward sustainable land-management policies and practices, developing resilient systems, more robust in the face of future challenges.
Records of high-resolution geochemical, biological, and lithological data were reconstructed from the sediments of two small, Medieval-aged reservoirs. Geochemical proxies including scanning X-ray Fluorescence, stable isotope (δ13C and δ15N), and elemental analyses (carbon, nitrogen, and phosphorus) were used to understand changes in erosion and productivity. Additionally, pollen analysis provided a record of changes in plant abundance and land cover through time. This reconstructed history was directly compared with historically documented changes in land-use within Burgundy using historical maps, parish/civil records, and agricultural reports.
Results from this study suggest humans have driven most of the changes recorded in the pond sediment. In particular, changes in agricultural practices, such as increased livestock production, resulted in increased erosion to the ponds. Further, activities such as hemp processing and chemical fertilization both resulted in episodes of eutrophication. Ultimately, this work provides a framework for predicting future impacts of agricultural policies on the Burgundian landscape, and utilizes a multiproxy approach to landscape history that may be applied to other regions. Furthermore, this study documents landscape history within a paleoenvironmental context, and in a geographic area where studies on environmental archives (i.e. reservoir sediments, tree rings, etc.) are scarce. Therefore, these data are particularly important to formulating sustainable land-management practices and policies to create a more resilient Burgundy in the face of future climate change.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairBain, Danieldbain@pitt.eduDBAIN
Committee MemberAbbott, MarkMAbbott1@pitt.eduMABBOTT1
Committee MemberAnderson, Thomastaco@pitt.eduTACO
Committee MemberElliott, Emilyeelliott@pitt.eduEELLIOTT
Committee MemberManning, Patrickpmanning@pitt.eduPMANNING
Date: 29 May 2014
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 2 April 2014
Approval Date: 29 May 2014
Submission Date: 16 April 2014
Access Restriction: 2 year -- Restrict access to University of Pittsburgh for a period of 2 years.
Number of Pages: 259
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Geology and Planetary Science
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Saone-et-Loire, La Chapelle-au-mans, paleoenvironmental, landscape evolution, sediment dynamics
Date Deposited: 29 May 2014 21:39
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 14:19

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