SEEK: Salford Environment for Expertise and Knowledge

Journal Article (Refereed)
February 2015

Recent sediment accumulation rates in contrasting lakes in the Carpathians (Romania): impacts of shifts in socio-economic regime

Hutchinson, S M & Akinyemi, F O & Mīndrescu, M & Begy, R & Feurdean, A 2015, 'Recent sediment accumulation rates in contrasting lakes in the Carpathians (Romania): impacts of shifts in socio-economic regime', REGIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL CHANGE.


 Longer-term environmental studies are increasingly used to better understand contemporary ecosystems conditions and for forecasting their future trajectories. Here, we use radiometric measurements and the characterisation of sediment properties from six mountain and a lowland lake in Central Eastern Europe with the aim to assess temporal and spatial variability in sediment accumulation rates (SARs) in relation to three socio-economic regimes: traditional (1840–1948), socialist (1948–1989) and post-socialist (post-1990). We also set out to determine reference conditions for these lakes i.e. conditions before significant human impact. Our results show a trend of increasing SARs from basal sediments (pre 1840) towards the present at only two sites. This contrasts with findings from Western and Central European lakes where SARs have predominantly increased from 1850 towards the top of cores. We highlight the differential impacts of the traditional, socialist and post-socialist periods on the SARs at these lakes. Lowland and mid-elevations lakes (n = 2) were most markedly impacted by the socialist period of land use regime; lakes from the southern Carpathians (n = 2) were more impacted in the traditional period (transhumance pastoral activities), whereas those from the north (n = 3) in the socialist and post-socialist periods (summer pastoralism). Results from our study show a continuous anthropogenic impact during the entire period considered, even in remote mountain areas. This suggests that a temporal frame of 100–150 years is too short to meaningfully register the reference conditions of these lakes. Furthermore, a predominantly natural state may not have existed for centuries in this region.


SEEK Members

External Authors

Robert-Csaba Begy

Angelica Feurdean

F. Olusola Akinyemi

Marcel Mīndrescu

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