Title: The changing human impact on sediment dynamics during the Holocene across different environments
Authors: Verstraeten, Gert # ×
Issue Date: Apr-2007
Publisher: EGU
Host Document: Geophysical Research Abstracts vol:9
Conference: EGU General Assembly location:Vienna date:15-20 April 2007
Article number: EGU2007-A-05931
Abstract: From the Neolithic onwards, human interference with the landscape has caused
changes in the intensity of soil erosion and sediment delivery processes. This human
impact on the sediment dynamics has moved from the hillslopes to the larger river
channels during the course of the Holocene. However, the way in which this spatial
change took place differed quite a lot as a function of the intensity of the land colonization
process. In NW-Europe, for instance, it took several millennia before the
major human impact changed from high local erosion rates on the cleared slopes, to
the main river channels that are dammed and cut-off from their floodplains. The slow
movement of sediment from the hillslopes to the river channels is often considered
to be the result of the sediment cascade process. However, therefore the population
and agricultural expansion was simply too slow and most sediment stores, even in the
upland areas, are still aggrading. In such environments, the coupling of hillslopes and
river channels is more likely causing the downstream movement of peak intensity of
human impact on sediment fluxes. On the other hand, there are many areas of the world
that were only colonized during the last centuries, and that witnessed a very intense
agricultural development followed by reforestation or the implementation of conservation
measures. In these areas, the typical downstream movement of a sediment slug
can be observed, a result of the balance between sediment supply and transport capacity.
Despite the different process mechanisms operating in both environments, the
most important human impact is nowadays equal: reservoir sedimentation. On a global
scale, this process has replaced floodplain sedimentation as the major sediment sink
in a river basin.
Publication status: published
KU Leuven publication type: IMa
Appears in Collections:Division of Geography & Tourism
× corresponding author
# (joint) last author

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