Interdisciplinary approach to the landscape and firewood exploitation during the Holocene at La Garrotxa (Girona, NE Iberia)

R. Piqué, J. Revelles, F. Burjachs, L. Caruso Fermé, R. Pérez-Obiol

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15 Citations (Scopus)


© 2016 Elsevier Ltd and INQUA This paper assesses the landscape and management of firewood resources during the Holocene at La Garrotxa (Girona, NE Iberia), a middle mountain region (400-1600 m a.s.l.) located within a volcanic area in the Pre-Pyrenees. Anthracological and palynological data from archaeological sites and lacustrine and peat deposits in this area have been considered in an interdisciplinary approach to the landscape and use of resources. According to Early Holocene palynological data, the landscape was characterised by the progressive expansion of forests, mainly dominated by conifers (pine and juniper) and deciduous trees (oak and hazel). The Holocene Climatic Optimum led to the culmination of forest expansion, with the dominance of dense oak forests, the landscape that the first farming societies found on arrival in this area. During the Middle to Late Holocene transition (c. 4000 cal BP), the expansion of evergreen sclerophyllous trees and the regression of broadleaf deciduous trees are recorded, in response to both climatic and anthropic causes. Deciduous Quercus and Buxus sempervirens were the most important taxa in all periods and areas, as shown in charcoal data from 26 archaeological levels. However, some other taxa had certain importance in some periods and sites. The variability observed between sites is discussed in terms of the availability of resources and the transformation of landscape evidenced in pollen records. This could explain the appearance of evergreen Quercus and other Mediterranean taxa in the Middle-Late Holocene anthracological record. The characteristics of the sites and socio-historical processes have also been considered in order to understand the use of firewood. In that sense, social necessities would have been the determining factor in planning timber and firewood procurement strategies rather than adapting to the environmental availability.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)401-413
JournalQuaternary International
Publication statusPublished - 10 Jan 2018


  • Charcoal analysis
  • Firewood
  • Holocene
  • Landscape
  • NE Iberian Peninsula
  • Pollen


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