Paper No. 6
Presentation Time: 9:30 AM


DOTTERWEICH, Markus, Institute of Geogrpahy, University of Mainz, Johann-Joachim-Becherweg 21, 55099, Mainz, 55099, Germany,

This presentation will review studies on past soil erosion in small catchments of central Europe and highlight the long-term feedback perspective of such erosion and sedimentation processes with regard to an ecosystem including socio-economic and human impact. The discussed studies were conducted on hillslopes and gully systems in low mountain range areas. They are characterized by coupled slope-channel systems as well as uncoupled systems like closed depressions in Pleistocene lowlands, maars, lakes, and sunken areas. The studies show that sediment fluxes in small catchments are highly sensitive to local land-use changes, while river sediments show regional trends in land use and climate change. Peaks of soil erosion and gullying occurred during phases of rapid climate change. Extreme precipitation events in particular caused intensive runoff on slopes used for agriculture. The most significant phases occurred in the first half of the 14th century and in the mid-18th to the early 19th century. Most of the gully systems in Europe today are a result of these catastrophic occurrences, which triggered land abandonment and influenced the ecosystem and the socio-economic situation. The results imply that a future increase in land-use intensity and extreme precipitation events as a result of climatic change might have severe consequences regarding soil erosion, flood risk, and ecological aspects.