Towards the reconstruction of the Holocene vegetation history of lower provence: Two new pollen profiles from Marais des Baux

Valérie Andrieu-Ponel, Philippe Ponel, Anthony J.T. Jull, Jacques Louis De Beaulieu, Hélène Bruneton, Philippe Leveau

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28 Scopus citations


Two new 14C-dated Holocene pollen profiles from Marais des Baux, Bouches-du-Rhône, France, are presented. The record begins in the Younger Dryas, when the vegetation consisted mainly of grasses and mugwort (Artemisia). The Preboreal was marked by a transitory expansion of pine forests and was followed by the establishment of a rich deciduous oak-forest that included hazel (Corylus) and elm (Ulmus). During the Boreal, hazel played a dominant role within the oak-forest. The oak forests, which included Quercus ilex, achieved a major expansion during the Atlantic period. The Subboreal was characterised by the regional establishment of, firstly, fir (Abies) and then beech (Fagus). The spread and expansion of beech coincides with the first clear evidence for farming. Agricultural activities brought about the decline of deciduous oak-forest. During the Subatlantic, forests in the vicinity of Marais des Baux were cleared for farming. Cereal growing, which included rye cultivation, was of considerable importance. Three noteworthy characteristics that serve to differentiate the Holocene vegetation history of the low-lying Provence region from other French regions are as follows: 1) the early establishment (from the onset of Preboreal) of low altitude mixed forest; 2) the expansion during the Subboreal of fir and beech in low altitude areas with a Mediterranean climate and, 3) the exceptional taxonomic richness of the pollen assemblages (120 identified taxa) and the presence of boreal-alpine and Euro-Siberian taxa that no longer exist in Lower Provence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)71-84
Number of pages14
JournalVegetation History and Archaeobotany
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jul 2000


  • France
  • Holocene
  • Human impact
  • Pollen analysis
  • Provence
  • Woodland history

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Archaeology
  • Plant Science
  • Palaeontology


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