Regional Environmental Change

, Volume 17, Issue 2, pp 501–514 | Cite as

Trends and events through seven centuries: the history of a wetland landscape in the Czech Republic

  • Péter Szabó
  • Andrea Gálová
  • Eva Jamrichová
  • Kateřina Šumberová
  • Jan Šipoš
  • Radim Hédl
Original Article


Environmental change can be viewed as the combined result of long-term processes and singular events. While long-term trends appear to be readily available for observation (in the form of temporal comparisons or space-for-time substitution), it is more difficult to gain information on singular events in the past, although these can be equally significant in shaping ecosystems. We examined the past 700 years in the history of a lowland wetland landscape in the Czech Republic with the help of palaeoecological, ecological, landscape archaeological, and archival data. Macrofossil and pollen data were compared to known drainage works in the area and historical climatological data. Trends and events in habitat conditions were assessed using species indicator values. Results showed that ecological succession was the general process in the study area, detected as a trend towards eutrophication, desiccation, and vegetation closure. Short-term events influenced development at the sites mainly from the second half of the nineteenth century. This is consistent with drainage history, although bias related to sample frequency cannot be excluded. On the whole, long-term trends and discrete events were complementary on different scales. We conclude that humans facilitated and accelerated background processes, which can be most likely associated with the succession of open wetlands towards terrestrial ecosystems.


Human impact Macrofossils Pollen Species indicator values Vegetation development Drainage channels 



We would like to thank Petr Dobrovolný for his help with climatic data. The research leading to these results has received funding from the European Research Council under the European Union’s Seventh Framework Programme (FP7/2007-2013)/ERC Grant Agreement No 278065, from the Grant Agency of the Czech Academy of Sciences (Project No. IAA600050812), from the Czech Science Foundation (Centre of Excellence PLADIAS, 14-36079G), and from long-term research development Project No. RVO 67985939.

Supplementary material

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Péter Szabó
    • 1
  • Andrea Gálová
    • 2
  • Eva Jamrichová
    • 1
    • 2
  • Kateřina Šumberová
    • 1
  • Jan Šipoš
    • 1
    • 3
  • Radim Hédl
    • 1
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Vegetation EcologyInstitute of Botany of the Czech Academy of SciencesBrnoCzech Republic
  2. 2.Department of Botany and Zoology, Faculty of ScienceMasaryk UniversityBrnoCzech Republic
  3. 3.Department of Biology and Ecology, Faculty of ScienceUniversity of OstravaOstravaCzech Republic
  4. 4.Department of Botany, Faculty of SciencePalacký UniversityOlomoucCzech Republic

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