The Holocene palaeoecological sequence of Serranía de las Villuercas in south-western Spain

J. A. Calleja Alarcón, Graciela Gil-Romera, M. García Antón M

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


New pollen results and radiocarbon dating from a valley mire in south-western Spain are presented. This is a region where few palaeoecological records have been preserved and the sequence yields important new palaeobotanical evidence for the late Holocene. The landscape is shown as having been largely open woodland, but more wooded than at present. The vegetation history of the last four millennia in these montane territories of south-western Iberia is discussed in the light of anthropogenic indicators, archaeological and documentary archives; fire incidence and climate change. Alnus is the predominant pollen type, although a decline is noted during the last couple of centuries. Its presence is connected with local topography behaving as a phreatophyte, that is, a plant which obtains a significant amount of water from the zone of saturated soil. A framework is also provided for the age and ecological dynamics of some major woodland taxa—Betula, Corylus, Ilex, evergreen and deciduous oaks, Ericaceae and Pinus. In addition, the natural status of several pollen taxa and local trends in biodiversity are discussed. We consider that the results of our work will have important implications for the understanding of the vegetation history in a floristically very rich area, with a noticeable diversity of woody taxa, and a relatively well preserved ecosystem structure.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)653-666
Number of pages14
JournalVegetation History and Archaeobotany
Publication statusPublished - 2008


Dive into the research topics of 'The Holocene palaeoecological sequence of Serranía de las Villuercas in south-western Spain'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this