Geographia Polonica (2003) vol. 76, iss. 2

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Human and climate impacts on the Holocene landscape development in southern Germany

Klaus Heine, Hans-peter Niller

Geographia Polonica (2003) vol. 76, iss. 2, pp. 109-122


Human activities have affected the paleoenvironmental system in the South Bavarian loess rolling hills and adjacent areas since neolithic times. The Holocene landscape history, influenced by human and/or climatic forces, can only be reconstructed if colluvial deposits, soils and floodplain sediments (flood loam, Auenlehm) of small and large river valleys are investigated in a synoptic way: the onset of the sedimentation of colluvial deposits took place hundreds to thousands years earlier than the formation of the floodplain sediments. The time delay between sedimentation on the hills and in the flood-plain areas depends on the steepness and morphology of the paleorelief. A morphodyna-mic cascade system illustrates the different ages of the sediments. As important geoarchi-ves, colluvial deposits document the beginning of the human-caused landscape changes, but they cannot record climatic signals. On the other hand, floodplain sediments alone cannot be used to represent the age, nature and extent of prehistoric erosion.

Keywords: colluvial deposits, Holocene landscape, human activities, morphody-namic cascade system, paleoenvironmental system, prehistoric soil erosion, Southern Bavaria

Klaus Heine, Institute of Geography, University, D-93040 Regensburg, Germany
Hans-peter Niller, Department of Geography (Physical Geography), Universitätsstr. 31, 93040 Regensburg, Germany