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You are here: Home » Online First » Volume 18, 2023 - Number 1 » THE COMPLEMENTARY USE OF CHARCOAL NUMBER AND MORPHOLOGY TO RECONSTRUCT FIRE HISTORY IN A LATE HOLOCENE PEAT SEQUENCE FROM NW ROMANIA, Carpathian Journal of Earth and Environmental Sciences February 2023, Vol. 18, No.1, p. 15 – 25; DOI:10.26471/cjees/2023/018/237


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Marcel MINDRESCU1,2, Ancuta PETRAS1, Vanessa PY-SARAGAGLIA3, Cécile BRUN3,4, Ionela GRĂDINARU2,5, Nicolaie HODOR6, Aurelian-Nicolae ROMAN5 & Mihaela DANU7
1Department of Geography, Stefan cel Mare University, 720229 Suceava, Romania: mindrescu@atlas.usv.ro
2Geoconcept Association of Applied Geography, 727110 Cârlibaba, Romania
3GEODE UMR 5602 CNRS, Université de Toulouse Jean-Jaurès, Toulouse, France
4Université de Nantes, Département de Biologie, Nantes, France
5Faculty of Geography, Alexandru Ioan Cuza University of Iasi, 700506 Iasi, Romania
6Faculty of Geography, Babes-Bolyai University of Cluj, 400347 Cluj-Napoca, Romania
7Faculty of Biology, Alexandru Ioan Cuza University of Iasi, 700506 Iasi, Romania


THE COMPLEMENTARY USE OF CHARCOAL NUMBER AND MORPHOLOGY TO RECONSTRUCT FIRE HISTORY IN A LATE HOLOCENE PEAT SEQUENCE FROM NW ROMANIA, Carpathian Journal of Earth and Environmental Sciences February 2023, Vol. 18, No.1, p. 15 – 25; DOI:10.26471/cjees/2023/018/237

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Abstract:

Fires influence basic ecosystem processes, including the distribution, the structure and the composition of vegetation, as well as the carbon cycle and climate at the global scale. Long-term knowledge (i.e., centuries or millennia) of fire regime history and forest fire ecology and dynamic in local environments is necessary for sustainable ecosystem management and biodiversity conservation strategies. Charcoal is a widely used proxy for reconstructing fire regime history and vegetation burning. Charcoal analysis is based on the accumulation of charred particles in depositional environments such as lakes and bogs, during and shortly after the occurrence of fire events. Ombrotrophic peat bogs are sensitive to local environmental changes and, given that the deposition of allochthonous material is exclusively atmospheric, they are ideal archives for reconstructing charcoal fluxes resulting from biomass burning. This study quantifies charcoal abundance (number) in a peat sequence extracted from Tăul Mare ombrotrophic peat bog (Văratec Massif, Lăpuş Mts, north-western Romania) aiming to reconstruct local fire history over the last 3000 years and to explore potential drivers. As a novelty, observations concerning the morphology of charred fragments are added to provide additional information on the type of material burnt (woody vegetation or herbs), fire severity and charcoal source area, thus strengthening the interpretation of the charcoal record. Results showed moderate fire activity between 3000 and 2300 cal yr BP, which slightly decreased between 2300 and 700 cal yr BP and varied considerably throughout the last 700 years. Several major fire episodes were further identified around 2500, 1700, 1300, 900 and 500 cal yr BP. Of these, the first four overlapped two phases of progressive landscape opening and extension of pastoral activities, while the latter was unprecedented in the entire history of the bog and was likely associated with the development of mining activities in the area. This study provides the first complementary use of charcoal morphologies in fire history reconstruction in Romania and adds a valuable perspective on the extent of past human impact on the mid-elevation mountain landscape.



Keyword: charcoal number, charcoal morphologies, fire history, ombrotrophic peat bog, human impact, Late Holocene, Carpathians, NW Romania.


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