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  • Kulha, Niko; Pasanen, Leena; Aakala, Tuomas (2018)
    Time series of repeat aerial photographs currently span decades in many regions. However, the lack of calibration data limits their use in forest change analysis. We propose an approach where we combine repeat aerial photography, tree-ring reconstructions, and Bayesian inference to study changes in forests. Using stereopairs of aerial photographs from five boreal forest landscapes, we visually interpreted canopy cover in contiguous 0.1-ha cells at three time points during 1959-2011. We used tree-ring measurements to produce calibration data for the interpretation, and to quantify the bias and error associated with the interpretation. Then, we discerned credible canopy cover changes from the interpretation error noise using Bayesian inference. We underestimated canopy cover using the historical low-quality photographs, and overestimated it using the recent high-quality photographs. Further, due to differences in tree species composition and canopy cover in the cells, the interpretation bias varied between the landscapes. In addition, the random interpretation error varied between and within the landscapes. Due to the varying bias and error, the magnitude of credibly detectable canopy cover change in the 0.1-ha cells depended on the studied time interval and landscape, ranging from -10 to -18 percentage points (decrease), and from +10 to +19 percentage points (increase). Hence, changes occurring at stand scales were detectable, but smaller scale changes could not be separated from the error noise. Besides the abrupt changes, also slow continuous canopy cover changes could be detected with the proposed approach. Given the wide availability of historical aerial photographs, the proposed approach can be applied for forest change analysis in biomes where tree-rings form, while accounting for the bias and error in aerial photo interpretation.
  • Rantala, Marttiina V.; Luoto, Tomi P.; Nevalainen, Liisa (2016)
    Widespread ecological reorganizations and increases in organic carbon (OC) in lakes across the Northern Hemisphere have raised concerns about the impact of the ongoing climate warming on aquatic ecosystems and carbon cycling. We employed diverse biogeochemical techniques on a high-resolution sediment record from a subarctic lake in northern Finland (70 degrees N) to examine the direction, magnitude and mechanism of change in aquatic carbon pools prior to and under the anthropogenic warming. Coupled variation in the elemental and isotopic composition of the sediment and a proxy-based summer air temperature reconstruction tracked changes in aquatic production, depicting a decline during a cool climate interval between similar to 1700-1900 C.E. and a subsequent increase over the 20th century. OC accumulation rates displayed similar coeval variation with temperature, mirroring both changes in aquatic production and terrestrial carbon export. Increase in sediment organic content over the 20th century together with high inferred aquatic UV exposure imply that the 20th century increase in OC accumulation is primarily connected to elevated lake production rather than terrestrial inputs. The changes in the supply of autochthonous energy sources were further reflected higher up the benthic food web, as evidenced by biotic stable isotopic fingerprints.
  • Helmens, Karin; Katrantsiotis , Christos; Salonen, Jaakko Sakari; Shala, Shyhrete; Bos, Johanna; Engels, Stefan; Kuosmanen, Niina; Luoto, Tomi P.; Väliranta, Minna Maria; Luoto, Miska; Ojala, Antti; Risberg, Jan; Weckström, Jan Björn (2018)
    Detailed studies on fossil remains of plants or animals in glacial lake sediments are rare. As a result, environmental conditions right at the moment of deglaciation of the large N-Hemisphere ice-sheets remain largely unknown. Here we study three deglacial phases of the Fennoscandian Ice Sheet as a unique, repeated element in a long sediment record preserved at Sokli in northern Finland. We summarize extensive multi-proxy data (diatoms, phytoliths, chironomids, pollen, spores, non-pollen palynomorphs, macrofossils, lithology, loss-on-ignition, C/N) obtained on glacial lake sediments dated to the early Holocene (ca. 10 kyr BP), early MIS 3 (ca. 50 kyr BP) and early MIS 5a (ca. 80 kyr BP). In contrast to the common view of an unproductive ice-marginal environment, our study reconstructs rich ecosystems both in the glacial lake and along the shores with forest on recently deglaciated land. Higher than present-day summer temperatures are reconstructed based on a large variety of aquatic taxa. Rich biota developed due to the insolation-induced postglacial warming and high nutrient levels, the latter resulting from erosion of fresh bedrock and sediment, leaching of surface soils, decay of plant material under shallow water conditions, and sudden decreases in lake volume. Aquatic communities responded quickly to deglaciation and warm summers and reflect boreal conditions, in contrast to the terrestrial ecosystem which responded with some delay probably due to time required for slow soil formation processes. Birch forest is reconstructed upon deglaciation of the large LGM ice-sheet and shrub tundra following the probably faster melting smaller MIS 4 and MIS 5b ice-sheets. Our study shows that glacial lake sediments can provide valuable palaeo-environmental data, that aquatic biota and terrestrial vegetation rapidly accommodated to new environmental conditions during deglaciation, and that glacial lake ecosystems, and the carbon stored in their sediments, should be included in earth system modeling.