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Vegetation History and Archaeobotany

, Volume 28, Issue 1, pp 35–50 | Cite as

Late-Holocene fossil evidence and the interpretation of the vegetation in NW Iberia: management issues in the light of palaeoecological findings

  • Francisco Javier EzquerraEmail author
  • Ignacio Cañas
  • Juan Andrés Oria-de-Rueda
  • Juan Manuel Rubiales
Original Article

Abstract

The management of the forests of Pinus sylvestris L. in north-western Iberia has been subjected to intense debate as the tree has been long considered an alien species while it has been widely used as a major species in forest restoration throughout the last 50 years. In the light of new palaeoecological data, we identify here a new late-Holocene population of P. sylvestris outside of the currently known Holocene range, also representing the westernmost continental Holocene subfossil record of this tree. Macro- and megafossil data from Montes de León (northwest Spain) occur in an area where oral testimonies of peasants suggested the occurrence of historical pine forests. The relevance of this finding and the reviewed regional palaeoecological data is crucial for both management and conservation actions. Here, we primarily discuss the implications of the naturalness of pinewoods within the Natura 2000 network and analyse the linkages between abrupt landscape changes involving pinewood shrinkage and historical events, such as Roman occupation and mediaeval livestock development. As a result, a new role for pinewoods in the management of protected areas is proposed.

Keywords

Teleno Mountain Cantabrian Range Human impact Pinus sylvestris Palaeoecology Natura 2000 

Notes

Acknowledgements

Funding for this research was partially supported by Junta de Castilla y León. We acknowledge the essential help of forests rangers Julián García and Germán Ferreras, and also Daniel Pinto in the field work. Luis Gil told us first about the testimonies collected from old shepherds and showed us the track. Patricio Bariego has contributed with his huge knowledge about Natura 2000 habitat conservation. We would like too to thank Pablo Sánchez, Carlos Morla and our colleagues at the U.D. Botánica (E.T.S.I. Montes) for their help and support. The numerous comments of an anonymous reviewer have contributed to improve the text in a very decisive way.

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© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Junta de Castilla y LeónValladolidSpain
  2. 2.Universidad Politécnica de Madrid, Escuela Tecnica Superior de Ingenieros de MontesMadridSpain
  3. 3.Universidad de Valladolid, Escuela Técnica Superior de Ingenierias AgrariasPalenciaSpain

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