Projects / Programmes source: ARIS

Vegetation and hydrology of Ljubljansko barje in the past, present and future - a consequence of succession, human impact or climatic fluctuations?

Research activity

Code Science Field Subfield
7.00.00  Interdisciplinary research     

Code Science Field
B300  Biomedical sciences  Palaeobotany, phylogeny, palynology 

Code Science Field
6.01  Humanities  History and Archaeology 
ecology, palaeoecology, diatoms, stable isotopes, pollen, archaeobotany, archaeology, vegetation, hydrology, Ljubljansko barje
Evaluation (rules)
source: COBISS
Researchers (18)
no. Code Name and surname Research area Role Period No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  18462  PhD Maja Andrič  Archaeology  Head  2014 - 2017  218 
2.  15299  Janez Dirjec  Archaeology  Researcher  2014 - 2017  127 
3.  05249  PhD Jadran Faganeli  Control and care of the environment  Researcher  2014 - 2017  571 
4.  11790  PhD Tjaša Griessler Bulc  Biology  Researcher  2017  506 
5.  34903  Klara Jarni  Biology  Researcher  2014  53 
6.  34499  PhD Katja Klun  Control and care of the environment  Researcher  2016 - 2017  108 
7.  11600  PhD Nives Kovač  Biology  Researcher  2014 - 2017  290 
8.  26067  PhD Aleksandra Krivograd Klemenčič  Control and care of the environment  Researcher  2014 - 2017  300 
9.  10807  PhD Sonja Lojen  Geology  Researcher  2014 - 2017  510 
10.  10677  PhD Marijan Nečemer  Chemistry  Researcher  2014 - 2017  348 
11.  11279  PhD Nives Ogrinc  Control and care of the environment  Researcher  2014 - 2017  1,120 
12.  39935  Maksimiljan Rupnik    Technical associate  2017 
13.  17094  PhD Urban Šilc  Biology  Researcher  2014 - 2017  410 
14.  27513  PhD Tjaša Tolar  Humanities  Researcher  2014 - 2017  249 
15.  20222  PhD Borut Toškan  Humanities  Researcher  2014 - 2017  394 
16.  34717  PhD Matija Turk  Humanities  Researcher  2017  225 
17.  15729  Stojan Žigon    Technical associate  2014 - 2017  312 
18.  36714  Miha Žitnik  Biology  Researcher  2015 - 2017  33 
Organisations (6)
no. Code Research organisation City Registration number No. of publicationsNo. of publications
1.  0105  National Institute of Biology  Ljubljana  5055784  13,266 
2.  0106  Jožef Stefan Institute  Ljubljana  5051606000  88,443 
3.  0211  Institut for Water of the Republic of Slovenia  Ljubljana  5055253  915 
4.  0382  University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Health Sciences  LJUBLJANA  1627155  14,133 
5.  0618  Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts  Ljubljana  5105498000  61,885 
6.  0792  University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Civil and Geodetic Engineering  Ljubljana  1626981  26,290 
The proposed research project will bring together researchers working across the fields of palaeoecology, ecology and archaeology, to study past and present environment of the eastern Alpine wetlands of Slovenia in order to better understand environmental processes, formation of cultural landscape, and the reasons for changes of vegetation and hydrology. The main study area is Ljubljansko barje marshy area, where, due to wet hydrological conditions, lake and marsh sediments are commonplace and the preservation of pile dwelling Neolithic and Bronze Age archaeological sites is good. In few parts of Ljubljansko barje, ombrotrophic plant species still survive, therefore it is possible to study modern peat bog ecosystems alongside the palaeo record. Research project will focus on high-resolution multi-proxy investigation of sedimentary core, collected at Mali plac, and will include the following analyses: pollen and microscopic charcoal analysis, loss-on-ignition, analysis of plant macrofossils, diatoms, stable isotopes, biomarkers and radiocarbon dating. Modern peat bog ecosystems of Mali plac will be studied along palaeo-record in order to better understand palaeo-record and to help us to plan for water outflow regulations and other renaturation measures at Mali plac. We will explore the intensity, temporal and spatial scale of the Lateglacial-Holocene environmental changes to better understand how dissimilar natural archives (small, hydrologically simple vs. big hydrologically complex or simple basins) react to climate changes and human impact, which changes of vegetation and hydrology were local/regional and whether they were triggered by climatic fluctuations or any other drivers (e.g. human impact). We will address the question of how the archaeological settlement pattern at Ljubljansko barje was affected by changes of palaeoenvironment (e.g. vegetation, hydrology) and how people affected their environment by agriculture and metallurgical activities. The palaeoecological record from this study will be compared with other study sites in Ljubljansko barje (central Slovenia), Alpine region of northwestern Slovenia, as well as palaeoclimate and archaeological data in Slovenia and Europe. Slovenia is located, in a transitional zone between the Central Europe, the Alps, the Mediterranean, the Balkans and the Pannonian plain and is thus sensitive to climate fluctuations. This research will therefore have much wider (Europen/global) perspective to test synchronicity of climate change between Greenland and other areas and to better understand possible leads and lags of resulting palaeoenvironmental changes in different regions of Europe.
Significance for science
The main importance of research project lies in its multidisciplinary methodology and bringing together researchers working in dissimilar fields of natural sciences and humanities. It enhanced the interpretative strength of our research, and strengthened our chances for more intensive international cooperation to address globally significant topics. Multidisciplinary, palaeoecological research in Slovenia, which is located in transitional area and thus sensitive to climatic fluctuations, enables us to compare our results with various European palaeoecological archives to better understand the Holocene environmental and climatic variability and its impact on society. Project measured the response and sensitivity of various study sites to environmental driving forces. We studied and compared the palaeoecological record of small marshy area, lying within a bigger, hydrologically complex basin and a big lake from another region to estimate how study sites with dissimilar natural characteristics react to environmental forcing. To the best of our knowledge, no such study has been attempted before and therefore the results will have widespread significance, beyond just the study region. The results of this research have demonstrated that the preservation of palaeoecological record and archaeological settlement pattern at Ljubljansko barje were significantly affected by past hydrological and climatic conditions in the area. In the Bronze Age (ca. 3700 cal. BP), for example, archaeological settlement pattern changed and traces of intensive flooding were discovered, similarly as at Lake Bohinj and Lake Ledro, suggesting wetter late Holocene climate. For the first time human impact on the vegetation and hydrological development of Ljubljansko barje wetlands in late prehistory (from Bronze to Roman Age) were studied in detail. Due to peat cutting and burning in the 18th and 19th century, study sites where this younger peat layers are still preserved, are namely very rare. The project is important also for ecological restoration methodological developments. Recent history of peat bog Mali Plac gives us a unique opportunity to investigate recent changes of vegetation due to human impact (changes of water table). As there were inventories of flora and vegetation made before and after these interventions we proposed measures for conservation and renaturation of this peat bog and similar study sites in Central Europe.
Significance for the country
The applied results of long term palaeo/ecological and archaeological research can be used for measures associated with the protection of the environment and hydrological regulations. Studies of long-term hydrological cycles and interconnections between vegetation and hydrology, as well as ‘close to nature’ regulations of rivers and lakes were hitherto very neglected research fields in the Republic of Slovenia, which is reflected also in every year more intensive floods, causing more and more socioeconomic damage. A contribution towards solving hydrological problems is an analysis of past and present vegetation and hydrological conditions at ‘Mali plac’ and other parts of Ljubljansko barje and; in cooperation with the ‘Institute of the Republic of Slovenia for Protection of Natural Heritage’; planning and regulations of water inflow/outflow and other renaturation measures. It would be an important novelty in Slovenia to make palaeoecological research an important part of the nature conservation policy. Wetlands, with their palaeo-record of cultural landscape in various archaeological time periods are very important natural and cultural heritage of the Republic of Slovenia, but they are also endangered by global warming and increasing human impact on the environment. Activities like draining wetlands, digging through the sediment and cutting peat can; within just one day; completely destroy several 1000years old palaeoecological record. Protection and investigation of these ecosystems are therefore important to preserve rich natural and cultural heritage, which is one of priority areas for research and development in the Republic of Slovenia (National research and development programme 2006-2010). On the 9th of July 2009 the government of the Republic of Slovenia published a resolution about the foundation of 'Regional Park Ljubljansko barje' to protect nature, biotic diversity and the quality of the landscape, and support sustainable development and high quality lifestyle of people, including research and education (1st article of the Decree about the establishment of 'Regional Park Ljubljansko barje'). Our research and presentation of results will contribute to the development of research and education within the park area, attract visitors and promote regional tourist economy. The archaeological cultural heritage including prehistoric pile dwelling sites in Ljubljansko barje region, which are on UNESCO list of cultural heritage, are very important also internationally. The researchers, who took part in the project, are coming from various research and educational institutions in Slovenia (Scientific Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts, 'Jožef Stefan' Institute, University of Ljubljana, National Institute of Biology) and abroad (University of Oxford, LSCE) and have diverse, but complementary knowledge, needed for realization of the project. This research brought together researchers of various ages (from PhD students, Post doc researchers to retired professor of the University of Ljubljana), who have experience with working on dissimilar research topics such as: ecology, phytocoenology, geochemistry, stable isotopes, nature conservation, taxonomy and ecology of algae, tephrochronology, archaeology, archaeobotany and palynology. This knowledge will be turned over to younger generations of students, where members of research group are taking part in development of university educational programme and teaching. Joint research project linked together various institutions, research fields and disciplines. This will advance the efficiency of Slovenian researchers to join EU projects studying long-term fluctuations of global climate. Development of new research approaches and methods, international cooperation and presentation of our results at international conferences improves international visibility of research group and is good for the promotion of Slovenian science.
Most important scientific results Annual report 2014, 2015, final report
Most important socioeconomically and culturally relevant results Annual report 2014, 2015, final report
Views history