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Vegetation changes and development of agriculture at „Kerfontaine“ (Sérent, Massif Armoricain, France)

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Abstract

As part of a new research programme, studies of peat bogs in Brittany are being carried out to trace the changes that have occurred in the course of time, and to determine the different regional stages related to the human activities of land clearance and agriculture. In this context, a palynological study of the Kerfontaine peat bog was undertaken to consider changes in local and regional vegetation dating from after about 7800 B.P. Local vegetation history from Neolithic times until the Middle Ages involved a succession of twelve pollen zones clearly related to variations in water level resulting from natural or anthropogenic influences. The dominant vegetation was alder carr, bog-myrtle mire and birch woods. Heath vegetation, which appeared at the end of the Iron Age, developed during the Gallo-Roman period, finally invading the entire bog in the Middle Ages. Regional vegetation history was characterised, among other things, by the presence of beech woods which developed after 3000 B.P. and then declined during the Middle Ages in conjunction with an increase of cultivation between the 8th and 11th centuries A.D., an indication of great activity during the Carolingian period. Human activity reached its peak around 1800 A.D. at the time of the first pine plantations.

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Visset, L. Vegetation changes and development of agriculture at „Kerfontaine“ (Sérent, Massif Armoricain, France). Veget Hist Archaebot 3, 1–6 (1994). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00208884

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Key words

  • Alder swamp
  • Fagus spread
  • Massif Armoricain
  • Carolingian clearance