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Human activity already increased global soil erosion 4000 years ago

By 1st November 2019 November 28th, 2019 No Comments

Soil erosion reduces the productivity of ecosystems, changes nutrient cycles and thus directly impacts climate and society. An international team of researchers, including Professor Pierre Francus at the Institut National de la Recherche Scientifique (INRS) and INRA at the Université Savoie Mont Blanc recorded temporal changes of soil erosion by analyzing sediment deposits in more than 600 lakes worldwide. They found that the accumulation of lake sediments increased significantly on a global scale around 4000 years ago. At the same time, tree cover decreased as shown by pollen records – a clear indicator of deforestation. The study published in PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences) suggests that human practices and land-use change have intensified soil erosion long before industrialization.

Read the research paper: Human and climate global-scale imprint on sediment transfer during the Holocene Jenny, J.-P., Koirala, S., Gregory-Eaves, I., Francus, P., Niemann, C., Ahrens, B., Brovkin, V., Baud, A., Ojala, A.E.K., Normandeau, A., Zolitschka, B., Carvalhais, N. Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. 

Read the press release from the INRS