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The Late Holocene history of silver fir

Is silver fir a relic species with no potential to expand its spatial range? Is silver fir a mountain species?


In a study published in the Journal of Vegetation Science, our team investigated by means of archaeological charcoal data the recent Holocene distribution of silver fir (Abies alba) in central-southern Italy.

Result shows that silver fir grew at lower altitudes than currently and was associated with deciduous oaks, mainly Q. cerris, and other mesophilous broadleaf trees. The recent population decline is attributable to human activity rather than to climate change. This persistence until the late Holocene calls into question both the assumption that A. alba is a relic species with no potential to expand its spatial range, and the prevailing paradigm of A. alba as a mountain species.

 

Read the paper