A millennial record of environmental change in peat deposits from the Misten bog (East Belgium)

François De Vleeschouwer, Anna Pazdur, Cédric Luthers, Maurice Streel, Dmitri Mauquoy, Cécile Wastiaux, Gaël Le Roux, Robert Moschen, Maarten Blaauw, Jacek Pawlyta, Jarek Sikorski, Natalia Piotrowska

Research output: Contribution to journalSpecial issuepeer-review

30 Citations (Scopus)


In this study, palaeoenvironmental changes recorded in the top metre of a peat profile (Misten bog, East Belgium) were investigated using a multiproxy approach. Proxies include bulk density, Ti and Si content, pollen, macrofossils, d13C on specific Sphagnum stems, and d13C–d18O on Sphagnum leaves. A high-resolution chronology was generated using 210Pb measurements and 22 14C AMS dates on carefully selected Sphagnum macrofossils. d13C only records large change in mire surface wetness. This is partly due to the fact that the core was taken from the edge of a hummock, which may make it difficult to track small isotopic changes. The d13C signal seems to be dependent upon the Sphagnum species composition. For example, a change between Sphagnum section Cuspidata towards Sphagnum imbricatum causes a significant drop in the d13C values. On the whole, the C and O isotopes record two shallow pool phases during the 8th–9th and the 13th centuries. Pollen and atmospheric soil dust (ASD) fluxes records increased human occupation in the area. There may be some climatic signals in the ASD flux, but they are difficult to decipher from the increasing human impact (land clearance, agriculture) during the last millennium. The variations in the proxies are not always synchronous, suggesting different triggering factors (temperature, wetness, windiness) for each proxy. This study also emphasizes that, compared to studies dealing with pollution using geochemical proxies, palaeoclimatic inferences from peat bogs need as many proxies as possible, together with highly accurate and precise age-models, in order to better understand climate variability and their consequences during the Holocene.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)44-57
Number of pages14
JournalQuaternary International
Early online date14 Dec 2011
Publication statusPublished - 3 Aug 2012


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