L'ancienneté des paysages culturels des montagnes méditerranéennes...

Un article de MC.BAL - revue CATENA

Publié le 25 janvier 2023 Mis à jour le 13 février 2023

MC.BAL a le plaisir de vous informer de la publication dans la revue CATENA de son dernier article.

Pedoanthracology sheds light the ancientness of the pastoral highlands of three mediterranean mountain: Sierra de Gredos (Spain), southeast Massif Central (France), and northern Apennines (Italy)


The Mediterranean mountain zone is probably one of the parts of the world with the longest documented history of interactions between vegetation, climate, and human activities. The twofold objective of the present study was to examine and compare changes in three silvopastoral mountain areas, and to identify the natural and human processes that have shaped today's mountain landscapes. Although there were differences in vegetation and history between the three areas, there were also similarities in agropastoral practices, including livestock pressure and the use of fire.

These similarities were supported by strong evidence based on soil charcoal and complemented by multiple other proxies (i.e., pollen analysis, archeology, historical documentation, and climatic data). The processes that led to the current physiognomy of the landscapes took place over the previous millennium, with a degree of synchrony over the past 500–800 years. The long co-evolution of humanity and landscape led us to reflect on the legacy of previous human practices and climatic changes, in terms of the composition of modern forests and the sensitivity of certain arboreal taxa (Pinus gr. sylvestris, Abies alba and Taxus baccata) that declined or disappeared during the late Holocene when the rates of vegetation change accelerated markedly.

In summary, the comparative study of the history of the three highland landscapes attests to the interaction between long-term human impact (mainly pastoral societies, including livestock pressure and use of fire) and protracted climatic episodes that led to common changes in the study areas.

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