Landscape history, calcareous fen development and historical events in the Slovak Eastern Carpathians
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- Jamrichová, E., Hájková, P., Horsák, M. et al. Veget Hist Archaeobot (2014) 23: 497. doi:10.1007/s00334-013-0416-0
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We explored interactions among human activities, landscape development and changes in biotic proxies in two small calcareous spring fens in the Slovak Eastern Carpathians. These date back to cal. a.d. 930. Results of pollen, plant macrofossil, and mollusc analyses were compared with the settlement history. The regional pollen record reflected historical events and changes in the settlement density very well at both study sites. The natural mixed fir-beech-spruce forests with fern undergrowth were suppressed and replaced by light-demanding trees in the periods of high human impact (e.g. Wallachian colonization). The study area was affected several times by wars and raids followed by a consequent decline in the settlement density. Some of these events are well reflected in the pollen records that document tree recovery and decline of cereals, weeds, and pasture indicators. In comparison, only some landscape changes were reflected in the local fen development. Both spring fens originated after deforestation, Roškovce around a.d. 1347 and Mirol'a around a.d. 929. The most pronounced change involving the water regime stabilization and undisturbed development of plant and mollusc communities took place after the decline in human impact. We conclude that humans were the main drivers of landscape transformation in the last millennium; they directly created spring-fen ecosystems through deforestation and influenced fen species composition through husbandry activities.