Macchia or forest? An exploratory quantitative eco-anatomical approach applied to Arbutus unedo for a better understanding of Ericaceae formations in Corsica (NW Mediterranean) during the Holocene - Université Nice Sophia Antipolis Access content directly
Conference Papers Year : 2023

Macchia or forest? An exploratory quantitative eco-anatomical approach applied to Arbutus unedo for a better understanding of Ericaceae formations in Corsica (NW Mediterranean) during the Holocene

Abstract

Erica arborea and Arbutus unedo are very abundant in pre- and protohistoric anthracological assemblages of Corsica (NW Mediterranean). Nowadays, these Ericaceae species compose the macchia, a shrubland habitat ecosystem, covering a major part of the island. This plant formation is currently mostly maintained at a low and open shrubby stage by frequent perturbations such as wood cutting and fire, but rare preserved plots show that it can evolve to a high, nearly forested stage, with Erica arborea and Arbutus unedo forming trees up to 10 m high and more. Traditional anthracological approach documents the floristic composition of past woodland but it does not allow us to specify the growth habitat of the trees. Thus, the physiognomy and structure of the Holocene Ericaceae formations remain unknown, while they constitute crucial information for the reconstruction of the landscapes, and of their potential for pre- and protohistoric human activities. To address this issue, we have developed a quantitative eco-anatomical approach for the characterisation of Arbutus unedo habitat and size pattern (tree/shrub; high/low). This method is based on measurement and quantification of wood structural and vascular elements whose abundance and size are influenced by natural or anthropogenic ecological parameters, using modern wood samples. Our protocol includes measurements in cross-section, and for the first time in tangential-section, as rays width and height seem to play an important role in the structural diversity of Arbutus unedo. Results from statistical analyses show that branch size and at a lesser degree growth habitat, seem to be recorded by eco-anatomical features. As a result, it seems possible to assess the morphology of the trees and the physiognomy of the woodlands. This approach is now being applied to a larger modern charcoal collection to provide a solid foundation for the examination of archaeological charcoals from Bronze and Iron Age Corsican sites.
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Dates and versions

hal-04225868 , version 1 (03-10-2023)

Identifiers

  • HAL Id : hal-04225868 , version 1

Cite

Thomas Camagny, Sarah Ivorra, Jean-Frédéric Terral, Laurent Bouby, Pauline Garberi, et al.. Macchia or forest? An exploratory quantitative eco-anatomical approach applied to Arbutus unedo for a better understanding of Ericaceae formations in Corsica (NW Mediterranean) during the Holocene. anthraco2023 - 8th International Anthracology Meeting, Pedro Tereso J., Costa Vaz F., Aug 2023, Porto, Portugal. ⟨hal-04225868⟩
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