Land-use legacies: multi-centuries years-old management control of between-stands variability at the landscape scale in Mediterranean mountain forests, France

https://doi.org/10.17221/42/2012-JFSCitation:Chauchard S., Guibal F., Carcaillet C. (2013): Land-use legacies: multi-centuries years-old management control of between-stands variability at the landscape scale in Mediterranean mountain forests, France. J. For. Sci., 59: 1-7.
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Traditional land use has shaped the Mediterranean region for a long time and has resulted in present-day complex landscapes. The land abandonment dating from the 19th century at a site located in the southwestern Alps (France) makes it possible to analyse how present-day forest stands inherit from past land uses. Tree composition and tree age structure were analysed in three stands resulting from different former land uses, i.e. ancient coppice, formerly grazed area and formerly tilled area. The ancient coppice contains the densest tree cover and is dominated by Fagus sylvatica, whereas the formerly ploughed and  grazed areas are less dense, both dominated by Pinus sylvestris. Forest stand in the ancient coppice is older than in the formerly grazed area, and forest stand is the youngest in the formerly ploughed area. These stand differences are largely explained by former land use and the abandonment process. Albeit strong changes result from the land abandonment, these landscapes inherit aspects of their land use during the 19thcentury at least and the dynamics does not match the expected pattern of soil fertility.  
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