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Keywords:

  • brown moss peat;
  • deforestation;
  • plant macrofossils;
  • pollen;
  • rich fen;
  • testate amoebae

ABSTRACT

Here we present the first high-resolution multi-proxy analysis of a rich fen in the central-eastern European lowlands. The fen is located in the young glacial landscape of the Stążki river valley. We investigated the fen's development pathways, asking three main questions: (i) what was the pattern and timing of the peatland's vegetation succession, (ii) how did land use and climate affect the succession in the fen ecosystem, and (iii) to what degree does the reconstructed hydrology for this site correlate with those of other sites in the region in terms of past climate change? Several stages of fen history were determined, beginning with the lake-to-fen transition ca. AD 700. Brown mosses dominated the sampling site from this period to the present. No human impact was found to have occurred until ca. AD 1700, when the first forest cutting began. Around AD 1890 a more significant disturbance took place – this date marks the clear cutting of forests and dramatic landscape openness. Deforestation changed the hydrology and chemistry of the mire, which was revealed by a shift in local plant and testate amoebae communities. We also compared a potential climatic signal recorded in the peat profile before AD 1700 with other sites from the region. Copyright © 2013 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.