CCA – Climatic Change in the Alps: 10´000 years of climatic and human impact in the Sivretta Massif between the Paznaun Valley (Austria) and the Lower Engadine (Switzerland)

Project leader:   Jean Nicolas Haas

Project members: Benjamin Dietre, MSc. (PhD student), Irina Anich MSc., Daniel Reidl (Master student), Thilo Kappelmeyer (Master student)

Cooperation: Thomas Reitmaier, Dr., University of Zürich, Switzerland, Karsten Lambers, Prof. Dr., Otto-Friedrich-University of Bamberg, Germany

Funding: Deutsches Stiftungszentrum GmbH im Stifterverband für die Deutsche Wissenschaft (2010-2013)

Duration: 2010-2013

Understanding today’s climatic change and its impact on human societies is dependant on the accurate knowledge on historical and prehistorical interactions between man and nature. In a highly sensitive mountainous region such as the European Alps even small, microclimatic alterations may have huge impact in terms of subalpine settlement activities and use of natural resources. Furthermore, this natural resources may be and have affected economical constrains leading to transformation of the landscape (such as timberline lowering due to high alpine pasture). From palaeoclimatological work in the Western and Southern Alps it becomes clear that the Holocene of the last 11550 years was characterized by at least nine cold phases (with year mean temperature 1-2 °C lower as today) and intermittent warm phases up to ca. 1 °C warmer than today. Probably such climatic fluctuations as well as human impact as recorded for the last 10000 years in the Silvretta Massif by archaeologically known remnants currently under excavation (e.g. settlement structures, abris and livestock enclosures) had an high impact on the alpine flora and vegetation (as well as its diversity), and on prehistorical yield of cultural plants in the adjacent valleys. However, high-resolution reconstructions on micro-palaeoclimatology and anthropogenic change using pollen and spores, non-pollen palynomorphs as well as plant macrofossil remains do not exist for the Silvretta Massif intermittently lying between the Central and Eastern Alps up to now and are aimed within the CCA-project using well dated palaeoecological bog/lake sediment archives.

Selected Publications

Aigner, S. (2008): Ein Feuerereignis um 1250 v. Chr. am Zeinisjoch (Paznaun, Tirol, Österreich) und dessen Auswirkungen auf die lokale Biodiversität. Bakkalaureatsarbeit Institut für Botanik, Universität Innsbruck, 23 pp.

Alonso Y Adell, M. (2009): Pollen-, Extrafossilien- und Grossrestanalysen im “Unteren Butterwiesenmoor” im Fimbertal (Graubünden, Schweiz). Bakkalaureatsarbeit Institut für Botanik, Universität Innsbruck, 25 pp.

Kaschutnig, P. (2009): Pollen-, Pilzsporen- und Grossrestanalysen in einem mittelalterlichen Viehpferch in der Nähe der Scheibenalm (Jamtal), Österreich. Bachelorarbeit Institut für Botanik, Universität Innsbruck, 27 pp.

Kirschner, P. (2008): Pollen- und grossrestanalytische Untersuchungen des Steinmannlimoors im hinteren Jamtal (Tirol, Österreich). Bachelorarbeit Institut für Botanik, Universität Innsbruck, 23 pp.

Magny, M., Leuzinger, U., Bortenschlager, S. & Haas, J.N. (2006): Tripartite climate reversal in Central Europe 5600–5300 years ago. Quaternary Research 65: 3-19.

Nussbaumer, O. (2008): Characterization of the Early Medieval Vegetation of the Jam Valley, Austria. Bachelorarbeit Institut für Botanik, Universität Innsbruck, 19 pp.

Reitmaier, T. (2009): Rückwege – Archäologie im Silvrettagebirge. In: Hebert, B. & Mandl, F. (Hrsg): Almen im Visier - Dachsteingebirge, Totes Gebirge, Silvretta. Forschungsberichte der ANISA 2: 163-172.

Reitmaier, T. (ed.), Letzte Jäger, erste Hirten. Hochalpine Archäologie in der Silvretta. Zürich 2010.

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