Land-use history as a major driver for long-term forest dynamics in the Sierra de Guadarrama National Park (central Spain) during the last millennia: implications for forest conservation and management

Morales-Molino, César; Colombaroli, Daniele; Valbuena-Carabaña, María; Tinner, Willy; Salomón, Roberto L.; Carrión, José S.; Gil, Luis (2017). Land-use history as a major driver for long-term forest dynamics in the Sierra de Guadarrama National Park (central Spain) during the last millennia: implications for forest conservation and management. Global and planetary change, 152, pp. 64-75. Elsevier Science 10.1016/j.gloplacha.2017.02.012

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In the Mediterranean Basin, long-lasting human activities have largely resulted in forest degradation or destruction. Consequently, conservation efforts aimed at preserving and restoring Mediterranean forests often lack well-defined targets when using current forest composition and structure as a reference. In the Iberian mountains, the still widespread Pinus sylvestris and Quercus pyrenaica woodlands have been heavily impacted by land-use. To assess future developments and as a baseline for planning, forest managers are interested in understanding the origins of present ecosystems to disclose effects on forest composition that may influence future vegetation trajectories. Quantification of land-use change is particularly interesting to understand vegetation responses. Here we use three well-dated multi-proxy palaeoecological sequences from the Guadarrama Mountains (central Spain) to quantitatively reconstruct changes occurred in P. sylvestris forests and the P. sylvestris-Q. pyrenaica ecotone at multi-decadal to millennial timescales, and assess the driving factors. Our results show millennial stability of P. sylvestris forests under varying fire and climate conditions, with few transient declines caused by the combined effects of fire and grazing. The high value of pine timber in the past would account for long-lasting pine forest preservation and partly for the degradation of native riparian vegetation (mostly composed of Betula and Corylus). Pine forests further spread after planned forest management started at 1890 CE. In contrast, intensive coppicing and grazing caused Q. pyrenaica decline some centuries ago (ca. 1500–1650 CE), with unprecedented grazing during the last decades seriously compromising today's oak regeneration. Thus, land-use history played a major role in determining vegetation changes. Finally, we must highlight that the involvement of forest managers in this work has guaranteed a practical use of palaeoecological data in conservation and management practice

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)

Division/Institute:

10 Strategic Research Centers > Oeschger Centre for Climate Change Research (OCCR)
08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Plant Sciences (IPS) > Palaeoecology
08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Plant Sciences (IPS)

UniBE Contributor:

Morales del Molino, Cesar; Colombaroli, Daniele and Tinner, Willy

Subjects:

500 Science > 580 Plants (Botany)

ISSN:

0921-8181

Publisher:

Elsevier Science

Language:

English

Submitter:

Peter Alfred von Ballmoos-Haas

Date Deposited:

30 May 2017 10:28

Last Modified:

30 May 2017 10:28

Publisher DOI:

10.1016/j.gloplacha.2017.02.012

Uncontrolled Keywords:

Charcoal; Fire ecology; Pinus sylvestris; Pollen analysis; Quercus pyrenaica; Vegetation history

BORIS DOI:

10.7892/boris.99416

URI:

https://boris.unibe.ch/id/eprint/99416

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