Anthropogenic hillslope terraces and swidden agriculture in Jiuzhaigou National Park, northern Sichuan, China

Title:
Anthropogenic hillslope terraces and swidden agriculture in Jiuzhaigou National Park, northern Sichuan, China
Authors:
Schmidt, Amanda C. Henck; Taylor, James; Lu, Hongliang; Li, Yongxian; Yang, Qingxia; Grub, Barbara L.; Breslow, Sara Jo; Robbins, Alicia; Elliott, Andrea; Combs, Julie; Urgenson, Lauren S.; Widder, Sarah; Hu, Xinxin; Ma, Ziyu; Yuan, Yaowu; Jian, Daijun; Liao, Xun; Tang, Ya; Hinckley, Thomas M.
Abstract:
Small, irregular terraces on hillslopes, or terracettes, are common landscape features throughout west central China. Despite their prevalence, there is limited understanding of the nature of these topographic features, the processes that form them, and the role humans played in their formation. We used an interdisciplinary approach to investigate the geology, ecology, and cultural history of terracette development within Jiuzhaigou National Park, Sichuan Province, China. Terracettes occur on south facing, 20° slopes at 2500 m elevation, which appears to coincide with places people historically preferred to build villages. Ethnographic interviews suggest that traditional swidden agricultural cycles removed tree roots, causing the loess sediments to lose cohesion, slump, and the terrace risers to retreat uphill over time. This evidence is supported by landslide debris at terracette faces. Archaeological analysis of terracette sites reveal remains of rammed spread soil structures, bones, stone tools, and ceramics dating from at least 2200 years before present within a distinct paleosol layer. Radiocarbon and optically stimulated luminescence dating of terracette sediments ranged in age from between 1500 and 2000 14C yr BP and between 16 and 0.30 ka, respectively. These multiple lines of evidence indicate a long history of human habitation within Jiuzhaigou National Park and, taken together, suggest strong links between terracette formation and human–landuse interactions.
Citation:
Henck, A., J. Taylor, H. L. Lu, Y. X. Li, et al. 2010. "Anthropogenic hillslope terraces and swidden agriculture in Jiuzhaigou National Park, northern Sichuan, China." Quaternary Research 73(2): 201-207.
Publisher:
Elsevier Science
DATE ISSUED:
2010-03
Department:
Geology
Type:
article
PUBLISHED VERSION:
10.1016/j.yqres.2009.10.001
Additional Links:
http://journals.ohiolink.edu/ejc/article.cgi?issn=00335894&issue=v73i0002&article=201_ahtasajnpnsc
PERMANENT LINK:
http://hdl.handle.net/11282/309392

Full metadata record

DC FieldValue Language
dc.contributor.authorSchmidt, Amanda C. Hencken_US
dc.contributor.authorTaylor, Jamesen_US
dc.contributor.authorLu, Hongliangen_US
dc.contributor.authorLi, Yongxianen_US
dc.contributor.authorYang, Qingxiaen_US
dc.contributor.authorGrub, Barbara L.en_US
dc.contributor.authorBreslow, Sara Joen_US
dc.contributor.authorRobbins, Aliciaen_US
dc.contributor.authorElliott, Andreaen_US
dc.contributor.authorCombs, Julieen_US
dc.contributor.authorUrgenson, Lauren S.en_US
dc.contributor.authorWidder, Sarahen_US
dc.contributor.authorHu, Xinxinen_US
dc.contributor.authorMa, Ziyuen_US
dc.contributor.authorYuan, Yaowuen_US
dc.contributor.authorJian, Daijunen_US
dc.contributor.authorLiao, Xunen_US
dc.contributor.authorTang, Yaen_US
dc.contributor.authorHinckley, Thomas M.en_US
dc.date.accessioned2013-12-23T16:08:39Zen
dc.date.available2013-12-23T16:08:39Zen
dc.date.issued2010-03en
dc.identifier.citationHenck, A., J. Taylor, H. L. Lu, Y. X. Li, et al. 2010. "Anthropogenic hillslope terraces and swidden agriculture in Jiuzhaigou National Park, northern Sichuan, China." Quaternary Research 73(2): 201-207.en_US
dc.identifier.issn0033-5894en_US
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/11282/309392en
dc.description.abstractSmall, irregular terraces on hillslopes, or terracettes, are common landscape features throughout west central China. Despite their prevalence, there is limited understanding of the nature of these topographic features, the processes that form them, and the role humans played in their formation. We used an interdisciplinary approach to investigate the geology, ecology, and cultural history of terracette development within Jiuzhaigou National Park, Sichuan Province, China. Terracettes occur on south facing, 20° slopes at 2500 m elevation, which appears to coincide with places people historically preferred to build villages. Ethnographic interviews suggest that traditional swidden agricultural cycles removed tree roots, causing the loess sediments to lose cohesion, slump, and the terrace risers to retreat uphill over time. This evidence is supported by landslide debris at terracette faces. Archaeological analysis of terracette sites reveal remains of rammed spread soil structures, bones, stone tools, and ceramics dating from at least 2200 years before present within a distinct paleosol layer. Radiocarbon and optically stimulated luminescence dating of terracette sediments ranged in age from between 1500 and 2000 14C yr BP and between 16 and 0.30 ka, respectively. These multiple lines of evidence indicate a long history of human habitation within Jiuzhaigou National Park and, taken together, suggest strong links between terracette formation and human–landuse interactions.en_US
dc.publisherElsevier Scienceen_US
dc.identifier.doi10.1016/j.yqres.2009.10.001en
dc.relation.urlhttp://journals.ohiolink.edu/ejc/article.cgi?issn=00335894&issue=v73i0002&article=201_ahtasajnpnscen_US
dc.subject.departmentGeologyen_US
dc.titleAnthropogenic hillslope terraces and swidden agriculture in Jiuzhaigou National Park, northern Sichuan, Chinaen_US
dc.typearticleen_US
dc.identifier.journalQuaternary Researchen_US
dc.identifier.volume73en_US
dc.identifier.issue2en_US
dc.identifier.startpage201en_US
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