Crossing forest thresholds: inertia and collapse in a Holocene sequence from south-central Spain

J.S. Carrion, A. Andrade, Keith Bennett, C. Navarro, M. Munuera

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167 Citations (Scopus)


A Holocene palaeoecological sequence from Villaverde, south-central Spain, is presented. The pollen stratigraphy is used to infer past vegetation changes within a catchment area that represents the boundary between semi-arid, plateau and mountain vegetation. From c. 9700–7530 cal. yr BP, Pinus is dominant, probably as a result of a combination of a relatively dry climate and natural fire disturbance. From c. 7530–5900 cal. yr BP, moderate invasion by Quercus appears to be a migrational response following increased moisture and temperature, but in part shaped by competitive adjustments. From c. 5900–5000 cal. yr BP, the pine forests are replaced by deciduous-Quercus forests with an important contribution from Corylus, Betula, Fraxinus and Alnus. Mediterranean-type forests spread from c. 5000 to 1920 cal. yr BP coincident with expansions of Artemisia, Juniperus and other xerophytes. From c. 1920–1160 cal. yr BP, Pinus becomes dominant after a disturbance- mediated invasion of the oak forests. Human impact upon the regional landscape was negligible during the Neolithic, and limited in the Bronze and Iron Ages. Local deforestation and the expansion of agro-pastoral activities occur after c. 1600 cal. yr BP.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)635-653
Number of pages19
JournalThe Holocene
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2001

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)


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