Colluvial Sediments, Flood Loams and Peat Bogs

Kolluvien, Auensedimente und Moore

Ed.: Jörg Völkel

2005. VI, 219 pages, 81 figures, 18 tables, 17x24cm, 550 g
Language: English

(Zeitschrift für Geomorphologie, Supplementbände, Volume 139)

ISBN 978-3-443-21139-4, paperback, price: 79.00 €

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Review: Zeitschrift f. Geomorphologie, 50/4, Dez. 2006 top ↑

The good news first: This book - derived from the Regensburg Graduate School on paleoecosystems and history - presents leading-edge science. Most articles are state of the art in their respective field, be they reviews or original research work. The book contains a review by Haber on sustainability in the context of landscape research; another review on palynology as a paleoecological tool by Beug; an original paper by Raab et al. with a detailed reconstruction of prehistoric to early Medieval land-use history; one more review paper dealing with radiocarbon dating by Geyh; and seven research articles by Glatzel & Sommer (anthropogenic slope-wash deposits as sources and sinks of carbon and nitrogen), Dreibrodt & Bork (anthropogenic slope-wash deposits related to lacustrine sediments), Raab & Völkel (dating methods applied to reconstructing land-use history), Heine et al. (relation of anthropogenic slope-wash deposits to riverine sediments viewed as a cascading system), Leopold & Völkel (reconstruction of land-use patterns using a GIS-based modeling approach), Starkel (review of anthropogenic soil erosion in Poland since Neolithic times), and by Fröhlich et al. (differentiation between anthropogenic and periglacial slope deposits under modern forest). Regionally, the research papers are concentrated to South Germany, with the two exceptions of Dreibrodt & Bork (North Germany) and Starkel.

There are some critical remarks, too. The review articles contained in the book mainly deal with tools for assessing ancient land-use. However, the reader will miss a review on the major topic of the volume: anthropogenic slope-wash deposits. The much too long title of the book gives no clear clue of its principal aim. This, in my opinion, could be ‘land-use reconstruction’, or ‘anthropogenic slope deposits’ because all original research papers deal with the latter. Small changes in the titles of the review papers indicating their relation to this central topic would have allowed for their inclusion without evident disharmonies. And the entire book would have benefited from some focusing of these papers on this topic. Only the first paper of the volume does not make clear to me how it relates to the remaining articles, which, however, holds true for almost every conceivable book title.

The bad news is: Although this is a book with clear scientific merits, it probably will not find the acceptance it deserves. This is mainly due to profane language problems, which will discourage and mislead potential international readers, who may not readily recognize that the book actually covers their research interests. The most important problem is even reflected in the book title as well as in almost all papers: the mislead usage of the term ‘colluvium’ (cf. Letter to the Editor on this subject in the present volume of the Zeitschrift). Another handicap for the international reader is the easy-going handling of soil terminology in many of the papers. E. g., a soil type, ‘colluvisol’, comes into being, which is not defined in any international classification scheme I am aware of; one finds soil horizon designations directly adopted from the German classification without translation or explanation.

After all, my recommendation is somewhat ambiguous. German readers, who will not come across the translation problems, will find this book a valuable contribution to the knowledge of changes in land-use patterns and how to reconstruct them. I suggest to international readers with research interests in such a topic to give the book a try despite of its language weaknesses, it might be worthwhile.

Arno Kleber, Dresden

Zeitschrift für Geomorphologie N.F., 50/4, Dez. 2006

Contents top ↑

Haber, W.: Landscape ecology and sustainability research (with 6
figures) 1 - 18
Beug, H.-J.: Palynology and palaeoecology (with 8 figures) 19 - 33
Raab, A., Leopold, M. & Völkel, J.: Vegetation and land-use history in
the surroundings of the Kirchenmoos (Central Bavaria, Germany) since
the late Neolithic Period to the early Middle Ages (with 6 figures and
1 table) 36 - 61
Geyh, M. A.: 14C-Dating - still a challenge for users? (with 15
figures and 2 tables) 63 - 86
Glatzel, S. & Sommer, M.: Colluvial soils and landscape position:
field studies on greenhouse gas exchange and related ecological
characteristics (with 3 figures and 2 tables) 87 - 99
Dreibrodt, S. & Bork, H.-R.: Historical soil erosion and landscape
development at Lake Belau (North Germany) - a comparison of colluvial
deposits and lake sediments (with 11 figures and 4 tables) 101 - 128
Raab, T. & Völkel, J.: Soil geomorphological studies on the
Prehistoric to Histo- ric landscape change in the former mining area
at the Vils River (Bavaria, Ger- many) (with 7 figures and 1 table)
129 - 145
Heine, K., Niller, H.-P., Nuber, T. & Scheibe, R.: Slope and valley
sediments as evidence of deforestation and land-use in prehistoric and
historic Eastern Bavaria (with 9 figures and 4 tables) 147 - 171
Leopold, M. & Völkel, J.: Methodological approach and case study for
the recon- struction of a (pre)historic land use model (with 5 figures
and 2 tables) 173 - 188
Starkel, L.: Anthropogenic soil erosion since the Neolithic in Poland
(with 3 fig- ures) 189 - 201
Fröhlich, H., Opp, Ch. & Scholten, T.: Periglacial layer or
anthropogenic layer? - A small scale analysis of their spatial
distribution under forest (with 8 figures and 2 tables) 203 - 219