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Freiburger Geographische Hefte, Heft 65

Häbich, Steffen (2010): Umweltbedingte und anthropogene Geomorphodynamik im europäischen Hauptwasserscheidengebiet des Mittleren Schwarzwaldes

In the Black Forest the onset of continuous settlement and agricultural activities only started during medieval times. In the last millennium human influence let to various changes of the landscape, but the triggered geomorphodynamical processes in the higher areas of the Black Forest are rarely studied so far. The aim of the research project was to investigate the relief shaping due to human activity and to compile an environmental and land use history of the middle Black Forest. The research project was conducted as part of the DFG Postgraduate Research Group “Formation and Development of Present-Day Landscapes” at the University of Freiburg, Germany. The study area is located at the main European watershed and comprises the very different relief and drainage pattern of the Danube and Rhine rivers, which enables a comparison and comprehensive evaluation of anthropogenic influence on the relief. Different geo- and bioarchives were investigated using geomorphological and geophysical methods, complemented by pollenanalysis and anthracological (charcoal) studies. By radiocarbon dating stratigraphic units were further allocated and sediments correlated with different phases of land use. Besides the study of environmental archives historical maps and old aerial photographs were evaluated to document landscape changes. The results of the research project document the great benefit of this multidisciplinary approach. The earliest detected human impact in the study area dates back to the late Roman period (after the abandonment of the limes), but had had little neither lasting nor extensive effect on the relief. For the Early and High Middle Ages the geoarchives as well as the mires show a first systematic land cultivation and colonisation of the area – earlier than assumed by historians. The intense land use cause

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