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Interdisciplinary approach for reconstructing an alder-based historical agricultural practice of the Eastern Ligurian Apennines (NW Italy)

Molinari, Chiara LU and Montanari, Carlo (2016) In Environmental Archaeology 21(1). p.31-44
Abstract
Data from four soil profiles studied through pollen and macroscopic charcoal analyses were used to identify specific palynological assemblages associated with a traditional land-use system documented in the Eastern Ligurian Apennines (NW Italy) between the 18th and early 20th century, concerning a cyclical use of grey alder plots for temporary cultivations involving to the use of controlled fire. This is the first attempt to verify on palynological evidence some hypotheses raised by previous historical ecology studies about the consequences of this agricultural practice (recently named alnocoltura) on past and present vegetation. Our investigations underline (1) high percentages of anthropogenic pollen indicators, (2) increase of Ericaceae... (More)
Data from four soil profiles studied through pollen and macroscopic charcoal analyses were used to identify specific palynological assemblages associated with a traditional land-use system documented in the Eastern Ligurian Apennines (NW Italy) between the 18th and early 20th century, concerning a cyclical use of grey alder plots for temporary cultivations involving to the use of controlled fire. This is the first attempt to verify on palynological evidence some hypotheses raised by previous historical ecology studies about the consequences of this agricultural practice (recently named alnocoltura) on past and present vegetation. Our investigations underline (1) high percentages of anthropogenic pollen indicators, (2) increase of Ericaceae percentages, (3) low pollen percentages of Alnus, (4) high macrocharcoal concentrations and (5) high values of palynological richness during periods affected by the alnocoltura cycle according to the historical sources. Similar patterns are also detectable in pollen diagrams from two adjacent peat bogs. The paper shows the strength of an interdisciplinary methodology (field observations, cartographical and archival historical data, palynological and archaeological investigations) for studies of past land-use systems. By demonstrating the necessity of a long-term prospective in environmental reconstructions for the preservation of the cultural landscape, one of the important elements of this research is its potential contribution to issues of habitat management and nature-conservation policy. Further analyses are needed to test the replicability and reliability of the hypotheses derived from this study. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
Pollen and charcoal analysis, Historical maps and documents, Historical ecology, Natural resources management, Cultural landscape, Alnus incana (L.) Moench
in
Environmental Archaeology
volume
21
issue
1
pages
31 - 44
publisher
Maney on behalf of Association for Environmental Archaeology
external identifiers
  • wos:000368807000003
  • scopus:84959319135
ISSN
1461-4103
DOI
10.1179/1749631414Y.0000000056
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
1b473ce3-b65d-4c27-9fda-69b99557809b (old id 7373691)
date added to LUP
2015-09-15 15:44:24
date last changed
2017-01-01 04:16:53
@article{1b473ce3-b65d-4c27-9fda-69b99557809b,
  abstract     = {Data from four soil profiles studied through pollen and macroscopic charcoal analyses were used to identify specific palynological assemblages associated with a traditional land-use system documented in the Eastern Ligurian Apennines (NW Italy) between the 18th and early 20th century, concerning a cyclical use of grey alder plots for temporary cultivations involving to the use of controlled fire. This is the first attempt to verify on palynological evidence some hypotheses raised by previous historical ecology studies about the consequences of this agricultural practice (recently named alnocoltura) on past and present vegetation. Our investigations underline (1) high percentages of anthropogenic pollen indicators, (2) increase of Ericaceae percentages, (3) low pollen percentages of Alnus, (4) high macrocharcoal concentrations and (5) high values of palynological richness during periods affected by the alnocoltura cycle according to the historical sources. Similar patterns are also detectable in pollen diagrams from two adjacent peat bogs. The paper shows the strength of an interdisciplinary methodology (field observations, cartographical and archival historical data, palynological and archaeological investigations) for studies of past land-use systems. By demonstrating the necessity of a long-term prospective in environmental reconstructions for the preservation of the cultural landscape, one of the important elements of this research is its potential contribution to issues of habitat management and nature-conservation policy. Further analyses are needed to test the replicability and reliability of the hypotheses derived from this study.},
  author       = {Molinari, Chiara and Montanari, Carlo},
  issn         = {1461-4103},
  keyword      = {Pollen and charcoal analysis,Historical maps and documents,Historical ecology,Natural resources management,Cultural landscape,Alnus incana (L.) Moench},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {1},
  pages        = {31--44},
  publisher    = {Maney on behalf of Association for Environmental Archaeology},
  series       = {Environmental Archaeology},
  title        = {Interdisciplinary approach for reconstructing an alder-based historical agricultural practice of the Eastern Ligurian Apennines (NW Italy)},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1179/1749631414Y.0000000056},
  volume       = {21},
  year         = {2016},
}