AbstractsEarth & Environmental Science

Agricultural history and its effect on Lake Ekoln, central Sweden

by Joel Avenius

Institution: Umeå University
Year: 2015
Keywords: historical maps; sediment inferred phosphorus; eutrophication; agriculture; Natural Sciences; Earth and Related Environmental Sciences; Naturvetenskap; Geovetenskap och miljövetenskap; Master's Programme in Geoecology; Masterprogrammet i geoekologi; Examensarbete i Geovetenskap/naturgeografi avseende masterexamen; Examensarbete i Geovetenskap/naturgeografi avseende masterexamen
Record ID: 1328984
Full text PDF: http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-101859


Agriculture and the use of arable land have long been assumed to be one of the key drivers behind eutrophication of lakes. However, little is known about how early agriculture has affected lakes in the past. The aims of this study were: i) quantify the within-region variability in historical land use and its linkage to soil cover and ii) test if the sediment geochemistry could be used to reconstruct inputs of phosphorus from early agricultural activities. The within-region variability was determined by digitalizing historical maps covering four centuries from the 18<sup>th</sup> to the 21<sup>st</sup> century for six selected regions across Sweden. To assess historical changes in lake-water phosphorus, a 6 m long <sup>14</sup>C-dated sediment core from Ekoln was analyzed. The core was analyzed for 24 elements by X-ray fluorescence spectroscopy (XRF) together with the total concentration of nitrogen and carbon and their isotopes (δ<sup>13</sup>C, δ<sup>15</sup>N). Results show that there was a statistically significant difference (P<0.05) in agricultural activities between regions with soils rich in fine texture classes compared to soils with a more coarse texture. Agriculture also became less dependent on fine-grained soils due to new technological implements following the industrialization. The reconstructed long term-trend in Ekoln indicate limited inputs of phosphorus from early farming and that the lake had higher concentrations of phosphorus throughout the last millennia. Therefore, early farming was unlikely to be the prime driver of high phosphorus loadings, and that other factors should be considered, e.g. extensive urbanization and inputs of wastewater effluent.