Human and climate impact on catchment development during the Holocene - Geul River, the Netherlands

J.J.W. de Moor*, C. Kasse, R. van Balen, J. Vandenberghe, J. Wallinga

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

64 Citations (Scopus)


Interest in the Holocene development of small to medium-sized river catchments in Western and Central Europe in relation to changes in land use and climate has increased over the past years. In this study we reconstruct the Holocene landscape development and fluvial dynamics of the Geul River (The Netherlands) and the main forcing mechanisms of environmental change. Field studies were carried out and we used OSL and 14C dating methods to reconstruct the Holocene valley development. Our study shows that 2 periods of deforestation (during the Roman Period and the High Middle Ages) led to severe soil erosion and increased floodplain sedimentation in the catchment of the Geul River, possibly combined with periods of increased wetness during the High Middle Ages. Alluvial fans have been active since the Roman deforestation phase. Our results show that the Geul catchment is highly sensitive to changes in land use.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)316-339
Number of pages24
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jun 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Alluvial fan sedimentation
  • Climate change
  • Floodplain sedimentation
  • Geul River
  • Land-use change

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