• shareshare
  • link
  • cite
  • add
auto_awesome_motion View all 6 versions
Publication . Article . 2018

Controls on late-Holocene drift-sand dynamics : The dominant role of human pressure in the Netherlands

Pierik, H.J.; Van Lanen, Rowin; Gouw-Bouman, M.T.I.J.; Groenewoudt, Bert; Wallinga, Jakob; Hoek, W.Z.; Biogeomorphology of Rivers and Estuaries; +2 Authors
Open Access
Published: 01 Jan 2018
Country: Netherlands

Holocene drift-sand activity in the northwest European sand belt is commonly directly linked to population pressure (agricultural activity) or to climate change (e.g. storminess). In the Pleistocene sand areas of the Netherlands, small-scale Holocene drift-sand activity began in the Mesolithic, whereas large-scale sand drifting started during the Middle Ages. This last phase not only coincides with the intensification of farming and demographic pressure but also is commonly associated with a colder climate and enhanced storminess. This raises the question to what extent drift-sand activity can be attributed to either human activities or natural forcing factors. In this study, we compare the spatial and temporal patterns of drift-sand occurrence for the four characteristic Pleistocene sand regions in the Netherlands for the period between 1000 BC and AD 1700. To this end, we compiled a new supra-regional overview of drift-sand activity based on age estimates (14C, optically stimulated luminescence (OSL), archaeological and historical ages). The occurrence of sand drifting was then compared in time and space with historical-route networks, relative vegetation openness and climate. Results indicate a constant but low drift-sand activity between 1000 BC and AD 1000, interrupted by a remarkable decrease in activity around the BC/AD transition. It is evident that human pressure on the landscape was most influential on initiating sand drifting: this is supported by more frequent occurrences close to routes and the uninterrupted increase of drift-sand activity from AD 900 onwards, a period of high population density and large-scale deforestation. Once triggered by human activities, this drift-sand development was probably further intensified several centuries later during the cold and stormier ‘Little Ice Age’ (LIA; AD 1570–1850).

Subjects by Vocabulary

Microsoft Academic Graph classification: Physical geography Vegetation Pleistocene Geography Chronology Holocene Mesolithic Deforestation Period (geology) Climate change


PE&RC, Soil Geography and Landscape, Holocene, chronology, climate, drift-sand activity, human impact, vegetation development, Bodemgeografie en Landschap, Research Papers, Paleontology, Earth-Surface Processes, Ecology, Archeology, Global and Planetary Change

149 references, page 1 of 15

Alexanderson H Bernhardson M (2016) OSL dating and luminescence characteristics of aeolian deposits and their source material in Dalarna, central Sweden. Boreas 45: 876–893. [OpenAIRE]

Ash JE Wasson RJ (1983) Vegetation and sand mobility in the Australian desert dunefield. Zeitschrift fur Geomorphologie 45: 7–25.

Bagnold RA (1941) The Physics of Blown Sand and Desert Dunes. London: Methuen & Co.

Bateman MD Godby SP (2004) Late-Holocene inland dune activity in the UK: A case study from Breckland, East Anglia. The Holocene 4: 579–588. [OpenAIRE]

Bateman MD Van Huissteden J (1999) The timing of last-glacial periglacial and aeolian events, Twente, eastern Netherlands. Journal of Quaternary Science 14(3): 277–283.

Bateman MD Rushby G Stein S et al (2018) Can sand dunes be used to study historic storm events? Earth Surface Processes and Landforms 43: 779–790. [OpenAIRE]

Berendsen HJA (1984) The evolution of the fluvial area in the western part of the Netherlands from 1000-1300 AD. Geologie en Mijnbouw 63(3): 231–240.

Bisschops JH Broertjes JP Dobma W (1985) Toelichtingen bij de geologische kaart van Nederland 1: 50.000. Blad Eindhoven West (51W). Haarlem: Rijks Geologische Dienst.

Bohncke SJP (1991) Palaeohydrological changes in the Netherlands during the last 13.000 years. PhD Thesis. Amsterdam: Vrije Universiteit.

Bosch JHA (1990) Toelichtingen bij de Geologische kaart van Nederland 1:50.000. Blad Assen West (12W) en Blad Assen Oost (12O). Haarlem: Rijks Geologische Dienst.