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Romans Shape Today’s Vegetation and Soils: Two Millennia of Land-Use Legacy Dynamics in Mediterranean Grasslands

Abstract : Archeological investigations in one of the most species-rich French Mediterranean dry grasslands (La Crau, Southern France) revealed a dense network of ancient sheep corrals dating from Roman to modern times. By analyzing soil chemistry and vegetation across abandonment dates spanning two millennia, we bring to light a persisting signature of Roman, eighteenth century and modern corrals on present-day ecosystems. Community composition and species-richness reflect time after abandon-ment of sheep stables and are linked to long-term persistence of eutrophication from historical sheep concentrations. Our data highlight changes in vegetation that persist two millennia after human impacts ceased. Small-scale pastoral legacies from Roman times continue to have significant impacts on present-day herbaceous plant communities. Our findings point to a need for greater consideration of persisting eutrophication in dry grasslands and of the conservation value of these long-term legacies.
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https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-03000749
Contributor : Thierry Dutoit Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Thursday, November 19, 2020 - 2:48:00 PM
Last modification on : Tuesday, January 4, 2022 - 5:49:48 AM
Long-term archiving on: : Saturday, February 20, 2021 - 7:59:52 PM

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Arne Saatkamp, Frédéric Henry, Thierry Dutoit. Romans Shape Today’s Vegetation and Soils: Two Millennia of Land-Use Legacy Dynamics in Mediterranean Grasslands. Ecosystems, Springer Verlag, 2021, 24, pp.1268-1280. ⟨10.1007/s10021-020-00581-w⟩. ⟨hal-03000749⟩

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