Environmental responses of past and recent agropastoral activities on south Greenlandic ecosystems through molecular biomarkers

Abstract : Paleoenvironmental studies previously performed on Lake Igaliku revealed two agropastoral phases in south Greenland: the Norse settlement from AD 986 to ca. AD 1450 and the recent installation of sheep farmers, since the 1920s. To improve the knowledge of the timing and magnitude of the Greenlandic agropastoral activities, a lipid inventory was realized and compared with biological and geochemical data. During the 12th century, a major increase in deoxycholic acid (DOC) and coprophilous fungal spores revealed a maximum of herbivores. Synchronously, a minimum of the n-C29/n-C31 alkane ratio and tree and shrub pollen and a maximum of triterpenyl acetates showed a reduction in the tree and shrub cover, because of grazing activities. Lupanone, produced by angiosperms, appeared simultaneously in the molecular content, probably revealing an introduction of plant species by the Norse, as it has been the case for Rumex spp. No major erosion was recorded by trimethyl-tetrahydrocrysenes (TTHCs) and titanium (Ti) fluxes. No massive algal production, identified by the n-C17/total n-alkane ratio and mesotrophic diatoms, was either revealed. After the Norse abandon (around AD 1450), a return of the vegetation to quasi-pristine conditions was observed in the molecular content. Finally, a re-introduction of sheep in the 1920s provoked major impacts between the 1970s and the 1990s. A major decrease in the n-C29/n-C31 alkane ratio and tree and shrub pollen associated with maxima of triterpenyl acetates, TTHCs, Ti fluxes, and mesotrophic diatoms highlighted a reduction in the tree and shrub cover, a strong soil mobilization, and algal blooms, probably linking to the recent mechanized creation of hay fields and the massive use of fertilizers. In this study, molecular biomarkers revealed two periods of major impacts: the 12th century and between the 1970s and the 1990s, separated by centuries without agropastoral practices, allowing a quasi-resilience of the vegetation.
Document type :
Journal articles
Complete list of metadatas

https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-01568909
Contributor : Vincent Bichet <>
Submitted on : Tuesday, July 25, 2017 - 10:26:22 PM
Last modification on : Friday, June 14, 2019 - 11:26:03 AM

Identifiers

Citation

Typhaine Guillemot, Vincent Bichet, Emilie Gauthier, Renata Zocatelli, Charly Massa, et al.. Environmental responses of past and recent agropastoral activities on south Greenlandic ecosystems through molecular biomarkers. The holocene, London: Sage, 2017, 27 (6), pp.783-795. ⟨10.1177/0959683616675811⟩. ⟨hal-01568909⟩

Share

Metrics

Record views

256