Long-term rates of sediment accumulation in the Tonle Sap, Cambodia: a threat to ecosystem health?

Penny, D., Cook, G. and Im, S.S. (2005) Long-term rates of sediment accumulation in the Tonle Sap, Cambodia: a threat to ecosystem health? Journal of Paleolimnology, 33(1), pp. 95-103. (doi:10.1007/s10933-004-1323-2)

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Publisher's URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10933-004-1323-2

Abstract

The Tonle Sap is an invaluable resource for the people of Cambodia, and is a globally significant ecological site. Much of the literature published on the environmental health and management of the lake suggests that its sustainability is threatened by accelerated rates of infilling related to unfettered land-use in the catchment. However, the evidence for supposedly increased sedimentation rates is confused and contradictory, and there have been very few studies that have attempted to actually measure the rate at which sediment is accumulating on the bed of the lake. This research measures, long-term sedimentation rates in the Tonle Sap in an attempt to provide an empirically derived 'baseline' against which more recent and allegedly accelerated sedimentation rates can be compared. Radiometric dating techniques (C-14, Pb-210, Cs-137) reveal that sediment has been accumulating in the lake at an average long-term rate of less than 1 mm per year. There is a clear and consistent decline in the rate of sediment accumulation in the lake basin over time, with the highest rates recorded in the middle to early Holocene epoch. It is recommended that research be directed toward measuring changes in the morphology of the lake margin over time, rather than focus on changes in the bathymetry of the lake basins themselves, which are here shown to be effectively stable in terms of sediment accumulation.

Item Type:Articles
Status:Published
Refereed:Yes
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Cook, Professor Gordon
Authors: Penny, D., Cook, G., and Im, S.S.
Subjects:Q Science > QH Natural history > QH301 Biology
College/School:College of Science and Engineering > Scottish Universities Environmental Research Centre
Journal Name:Journal of Paleolimnology
ISSN:0921-2728

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