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Permanent URL to this publication: http://dx.doi.org/10.5167/uzh-28917

Favilli, F; Cherubini, P; Collenberg, M; Egli, M; Sartori, G; Schoch, W; Haeberli, W (2010). Charcoal fragments of Alpine soils as an indicator of landscape evolution during the Holocene in Val di Sole (Trentino, Italy). Holocene, 20(1):67-79.

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Subalpine and Alpine soils in Val di Sole (Trentino, Italy) have been investigated in order to reconstruct vegetation changes and human impact during the Holocene period. Archaeological findings have demonstrated that Alpine sites have been populated since pre-historical times. Humans have had a great impact on the natural landscape evolution. One of the most-used tools has been fire. The use of fire has enabled the landscape to be cleared to provide new pastures for grazing and also to allow it to be used for agricultural purposes. The 14C dating of charcoal fragments found in subalpine and Alpine soils provide information about the type of vegetation, fires, human impact and soil formation throughout the Holocene. The degree of podzolisation indicates weathering effects and provides information about the stability of the surfaces. According to our results, a quick forest expansion establishment phase must have occurred shortly after the Lateglacial around 10 500 cal. BP. Pinus sylvestris, Pinus mugo as well as Larix decidua established in the investigation area in that period. Picea abies had not yet migrated into this region at the transition to the Boreal (around 9000 cal. BP). The vegetation of the investigated area has not substantially changed during the last 10 000 years. Pinus mugo was more widespread in some areas during the Older Atlanticum, and the treeline was about 150 m higher at the end of the Younger Dryas than today. Some other sites were most probably used as pasture during the Bronze Age and later abandoned, leading to a natural reforestation. In the investigated area 13 fire events in the past 10 700 years have been recognised, and seven of them can reasonably be attributed to human origin.


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Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Geography
Dewey Decimal Classification:910 Geography & travel
Deposited On:29 Jan 2010 11:45
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 13:50
Publisher:Sage Publications
Publisher DOI:10.1177/0959683609348850

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