Ancient Forests in European drylands: Holocene palaeoecological record of Mazarrón, south-eastern Spain

  • José S. Carrión /
  • Elena Fierro /
  • Milagros Ros /
  • Manuel Munuera /
  • Santiago Fernández /
  • Juan Ochando /
  • Gabriela Amorós /
  • Francisca Navarro /
  • Tomás Rodríguez-Estrella /
  • Saúl Manzano /
  • Penélope González-Sampériz /
  • Ana Moreno
Journal ar
Proceedings of the Geologists' Association
  • Volumen: 129
  • Número: 4
  • Fecha: 01 agosto 2018
  • Páginas: 512-525
  • ISSN: 00167878
  • Tipo de fuente: Revista
  • DOI: 10.1016/j.pgeola.2018.05.007
  • Tipo de documento: Artículo
  • Editorial: Geologists' AssociationBurlington House,Piccadilly, London,W1J 0DU
© 2018 The Geologists¿ AssociationThis paper presents a new Holocene palaeoecological record from coastal south-eastern Spain, a region characterised by high plant species diversity, varied physiography, high risk of desertification, and a history of human pressure on the landscape that stretches to antiquity. The pollen sequence shows four main vegetation phases: the first characterised by mixed forests of Pinus and evergreen Quercus accompanied by broad-leaved mesophilous trees, and a diversity of Mediterranean scrub; the second phase is characterised by mesophytic decline and expansion of Artemisia; a third, mid-Holocene phase of thermo-mesophytic maxima with prevalence of forested landscapes; and, finally, the progressive opening of the landscape with sparse pines, halo-xerophytic grasslands and sclerophyllous brushwood. The current treeless situation of south-eastern Spain is a relatively recent feature resulting from a dramatic change in the ecological structure of the regional landscapes. This paper stresses the continued vulnerability of these arid systems in the face of a changing climate. This sequence adds to previous palaeobotanical records (pollen and charcoal) and archaeological reports to suggest that deforestation started earlier in low-elevation areas and river basins than in the inland mountains and platforms, a factor that appears in connection to human exploitation of the natural environment.

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