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Holocene vegetation changes in NW Iberia revealed by anthracological and palynological records from a colluvial soil

AuthorsCarrión Marco, Yolanda ; Kaal, Joeri ; López Sáez, José Antonio ; López-Merino, Lourdes; Martínez Cortizas, Antonio
KeywordsCharcoal analysis
Non-pollen palynomorphs
Vegetation dynamics
NW Iberia
Issue DateFeb-2010
PublisherSage Publications
CitationHolocene 20(1): 53-66 (2010)
AbstractMacroscopic charcoal, pollen and non-pollen palynomorphs were isolated from a colluvial soil located on a small hill in Campo Lameiro (NW Spain) in order to elucidate the vegetation history of the area and its relation to fire and human activities. The presence of macroscopic charcoal throughout the 2.10 m thick soil (42 samples) is evidence of frequent fires during the last c. 6300 years. The charcoal record was dominated by Quercus (probably Q. robur), Ericaceae (probably Arbutus unedo and Erica arborea) and Fabaceae (mainly Genista type). Abrupt changes in the charcoal assemblage are less explicit in the pollen sequence, probably as a result of pollen inflow from the downhill surroundings of the study site. Combined results indicated that the original oak woodland was gradually replaced by pyrophytic shrubs (Ericaceae and Fabaceae) as a result of fire recurrence. Non-pollen palynomorphs strongly suggested that vegetation was deliberately ignited by past human societies to facilitate grazing. No evidence of local agricultural practices was found. Episodes of accelerated shrubland expansion occurred c. 6000-5500 cal. BP, c. 4000-3500 cal. BP and c. 1700 cal. BP, the latter of which caused the definitive settlement of shrublands dominated by Ericaceae and Fabaceae which are nowadays widespread in NW Iberia.
Description14 páginas, 7 figuras, 1 apéndice.-- El PDF es la versión post-print.
Publisher version (URL)http://dx.doi.org/10.1177/0959683609348849
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