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The history of forestry in the Romanche river valley, south-east of<br />Grenoble, France, is reconstructed for the past ca. 3000 years on the<br />basis of detailed pollen analysis and AMS C-14 dating. Three<br />deforestation phases are recorded during the last two millennia, each<br />phase showing different features and also contrasting woodland<br />succession in the post-clearance period. The first major deforestation<br />is recorded at the Roman time when Abies alba (fir) was selectively<br />exploited, presumably for use by peoples living downstream of the site.<br />Apart from the deforestation, there appears to have been little human<br />activity in the vicinity of the site at this time. After the clearance<br />fir gradually, and more or less fully, recovered. The second<br />deforestation phase occurred in ca. the 5th and 6th century A.D. when<br />there is also substantial evidence for local farming. At this time, both<br />fir and beech (Fagus sylvatica) were non-selectively exploited and<br />probably used locally. Beach subsequently recovers but there is no<br />further regeneration of fir. The third deforestation phase in ca. the<br />12th century A.D. is similar to the preceding phase but this time beech<br />does not recover. With the decline in human activity, secondary forest<br />that included spruce (Picea) and pine (Pinus), developed. Forest<br />dynamics were controlled by local human activity and also the economic<br />relationships between the local area and the wider region and especially<br />the region downstream from the site.




Nakagawa, T., De Beaulieu, J. L., & Kitagawa, H. (2000). Pollen-derived history of timber exploitation from the Roman period onwards in the Romanche valley, central French Alps. Vegetation History and Archaeobotany. Springer New York. https://doi.org/10.1007/BF01300058

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