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Histoire et dynamique des forêts de l'ubac du massif des Maures au cours des derniers 8000 ans

Abstract : To understand the history and dynamics of the plant cover in a particular place, the carrying out of paleo-ecological and phyto-historical studies constitutes a vital first step. Such investigations in fact make it possible to retrace the evolution of the vegetation in relation to climatic change and/or human activity, thereby supplying indispensable evidence of the sites’s potential plant cover. Later, such knowledge represents an essential tool for guiding decisions in forestry management aimed at sustainable development or biological conservation. The Maures mountain massif, periodically the victim of wildfire, possesses a value as ‘natural heritage’ that has been recognised by the WWF which recently classified the area among the ten most important woodland ensembles of the Mediterranean Rim. Even so, the dynamics and history of the area during the Holocene period are largely unknown. In this context, the aim of this study was to reconstitute the history and dynamics of the woody vegetation in one part of the Maures massif and to assess the role of wildfire in the establishment of patterns of plant cover. The study, based on the analysis of charred wood/coals (pédoanthracologie to use the French term), has made it possible to highlight different phases in the evolution of the woody vegetation over time. A mixed oak forest (Quercus pubescens, present as of 7,000 BP, Q. suber, present as of 8,000 BP and Erica arborea) in which Q. pubescens (downy oak) dominated, formed the plant cover at the height of the Holocene. Such cover is characteristic of an only slightly disturbed, or undisturbed, environment. Thereafter, following on the increasing impact of man on his habitat (clearing for agriculture, fires, grazing, etc.), a cork oak cover, favoured by man, progressively took hold. This forest cover is resistant to wildfire and is accompanied by colonising species or those that re-sprout from coppice. Finally, with the ongoing decline of farming communities, the woodland environment has been closing over, thus becoming favourable to the downy oak and mesophilic tree species.
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  • HAL Id : hal-01791242, version 1

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Marie Bergaglio, Brigitte Talon, Frédéric Médail. Histoire et dynamique des forêts de l'ubac du massif des Maures au cours des derniers 8000 ans. Forêt Méditerranéenne, 2006, t. XXVII (n°1), pp.3-16. ⟨hal-01791242⟩

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