Forest dynamics and fire history in northern Germany as documented by anthracological and dendroecological approaches

PhD project Vincent Robin

The research project aims to reconstruct the history of the forest vegetation and the fire history, at complementary spatial and temporal resolution, since the last glaciation, in selected woodlands in Northern Germany, by using anthracological and dendroecological methods. Special emphasis is on the occurrence of fire events during the Holocene, connected to human activities, in particular the usage of fire as a tool to manage landscapes. Those observations are made along the spatial and temporal continuity of forest systems, different in terms of edaphic, climatic and altitudinal situations. The reconstructed knowledge about the past will then be compared to the current state of the forest to postulate guidelines for optimizing the multifunctional management of the forest (wood production and forest biodiversity/naturalness conservation). We work with three scientific tools: stratigraphic charcoal analysis, analysis of wood charcoals from soils, and dendroecological analysis. The methods are complementary in terms of temporal and spatial scale, from fine to large spatial resolution. The sampling strategy used is based on the same protocol in two areas: selected woodland plots in Schleswig-Holstein and the Harz Mountains. The interpretation of the data is completed with additional proxies: archaeological data, pollen data, soil analysis and with experimental data about soil charcoal analysis.