Environmental History of the Rhine–Meuse Delta: An by P.H. Nienhuis

By P.H. Nienhuis

This publication provides the environmental heritage of the Delta of the lowland rivers Rhine and Meuse, an ecological tale on evolving human–environmental family members dealing with weather swap and sea-level upward thrust. It bargains a mix of in-depth ecology and environmental heritage, facing exploitation of land and water, using every little thing nature supplied, the advance of fisheries and agriculture, adjustments in biodiversity of upper crops, fish, birds, mammals and invasive exotics. it's the first finished ebook written in English at the built-in environmental heritage of the Delta, from prehistoric occasions as much as the current day. It covers the l- acy of human intervention, the inescapable destiny of reclaimed, however subs- ing and sinking polders, ‘bathtubs’ attacked through quite a few floods, reclaimed within the center a while and unwittingly uncovered to the emerging sea point and the expanding amplitude among low and high water within the rivers. The river channels, constricted and controlled among embankments, misplaced their flood plains, silted up, degraded and incised. Cultivation of raised lavatory deposits ended in oxidation and compacting of peat and clay, leading to innovative subsidence and flooding; arable land needed to be became grassland and wetland. For millennia muscular power and wind and water powers moulded the rustic into its uncomplicated shape. From 1800 onwards, acceleration and scaling up via steam energy and electrical energy, and exponential popu- tion progress, led to the erection of human buildings ‘fixed forever’, and critical strain at the environment.

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Additional resources for Environmental History of the Rhine–Meuse Delta: An ecological story on evolving human–environmental relations coping with climate change and sea-level rise

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When the Romans occupied Germania Inferior, they encountered a number of Celtic–German tribes that were incorporated in the empire. Some tribes were absorbed in the new system and were rather loyal to the rulers; others furiously reacted from the beginning. One theory is that the Romans strived to stabilise the border areas between the German tribes in the north and east and their fortified limes. This stabilisation was reached by diplomatic contacts, resulting in agreements and client-relations, as described by Tacitus (Bloemers and Van Dorp, 1991).

During the Bronze Age (4,000–2,800 years bp) and Iron Age (2,800 years bp – when the Romans came to the Delta, 2,015 years bp) settlements grew and permanent fields were exploited (Celtic Fields). In the meantime, roughly from 6,000 years bp onwards, sea-level rise considerably slowed down, and at the start of the Roman period the mean sea level was only a few metres below NAP (Fig. 2; for recent effects of sea-level rise versus subsidence of the land, see Fig. 1d and Chapter 3). There was a growing need for arable land and firewood, and consequently deforestation increased quickly.

In their fish-traps the hunters mainly caught eel, but also bream and roach. Pike was caught with a fish-spear. The fish-traps were made of twigs of red cornel, held together with plated ropes of mat-rush. Based on these findings, Bob Brobbel made an artist impression of this prehistoric family (Fig. 3 borrowed from Louwe Kooijmans, 1985). 2 Closed Forest or Park Landscape Floodplain deforestation in NW Europe began on a limited scale in the New Stone Age 6,000–5,300 years bp, but the almost complete deforestation of floodplains, where this occurred, did not take place until the early to middle Iron Age around 2,700–2,100 years bp.

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