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  • Paleolimnology of Lakes in Central New England from 2000 BP to Present
  • Francis, Donna
  • Foster, David
  • 2003
  • Paleolimnological studies of three small watersheds in central New England were undertaken to determine the influence of deforestation and agriculture on lake systems, as well as the response of the lakes to agricultural abandonment and reforestation, or the cessation of disturbance. Sites were chosen to represent a range of past land-use activities, while keeping other site factors constant. The study was designed to complement the historical and paleoecological studies of the central Massachusetts area of Fuller et al. (1998) and Foster et al. (1998). Changes in terrestrial vegetation were documented using the pollen record from each lake, and changes in aquatic systems were documented through fossil chironomid assemblages (Chironomidae: Diptera) and sediment chemistry. Dated cores were analyzed for pollen, fossil chironomids, percent organic matter, carbon and nitrogen, and sedimentation changes. Increased sedimentation rates occurred in all lakes during the settlement period, and small increases in productivity changes resulted from the increased runoff. Productivity changes, as indicated by organic material, C:N ratios, and chironomid assemblages, are more pronounced in North Round and Wickett Ponds than in Pecker Pond, even though agricultural activity was most intense at Pecker Pond. North Round and Wickett Ponds are more shallow than Pecker, and were more affected by sediment and nutrient inputs from the watershed. North Round Pond was the least impacted site, with only minimal logging and no agriculture, but still significant changes occurred during the settlement period. The sedimentation rates and productivity continue to be higher than pre-settlement levels, indicating that the systems have not returned to pre-disturbance states. This is similar to the response of forest vegetation studied by Fuller et al. (1998) in the Central Massachusetts study. The low intensity agricultural practices of the 19th Century and small watershed sizes contributed to the fact that the response of these lakes was minimal.
  • N: 42.85      S: 42.55      E: -71.97      W: -72.45
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  • doi:10.6073/pasta/defaa9718f18d2552da282d27e7411b4
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