Into the woods

Overlapping perspectives on the history of ancien forest

by Sandrine Paradis-Grenouillet (editorial coordination), Chantal Aspe (editorial coordination), Sylvain Burri (editorial coordination)
november 2018
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At the centre of concerns related to curbing thedecline in forest biodiversity caused by increasing anthropogenic pressure andglobal change, old-growth forests are mainly characterised by the continuity oftheir tree cover. This has been defined mainly by their appearance onhistorical maps and by ecological criteria dating back to certain temporalcut-off points (about two centuries). Inherited over hundreds, even thousands,of years of interaction between Man and Nature, these ancient forests have beenmanaged and shaped by past societies to meet their various needs, both domesticand industrial. Also, studying the historical trajectories of such forests,their responses to environmental and anthropogenic stress, and the long-termconsequences of past human activities, is essential in order to betterunderstand their current ecology and rethink their conservation. Thedevelopment of pluridisciplinary and interdisciplinary research (ecology,paleoecology, history, archaeology, geography, sociology) now makes it possiblenot only to push back the hitherto accepted thresholds of ancientness, but inparticular to understand old forests in their entirety and complexity over thelonger term.


This book, comprising both theoretical andmethodological contributions along with case studies, reflects the diversity ofcurrent approaches and thinking and promotes interdisciplinarity as the onlyroute to a comprehensive understanding of ancient forests as natural andcultural assets.

Towardsan interdisciplinary approach on ancient forests

     Ancient and old-growth forests: definitions and main conservation issues

     Investigating past forest management legacies of current ancient forests

     Investigating past forest trajectories: from pluridisciplinarity tointerdisciplinarity

     “Into the Woods” international conference: advancing interdisciplinarity



Part1: Perception and management of ancient forests as a natural and culturalheritage

Chapter 1: Distinguishing the definition andmeaning of ancient woodland in England

Chapter 2: Managing Walloon ancient woodlands asheritage

Chapter 3: Ancient coppice woodlands in theCzech Republic

Chapter 4: How the ancient forest conceptemerged in the French media

Chapter 5: Mediterranean forest users andancient forests: appreciating nature as a social and welcoming place ratherthan wilderness


Part2: Investigating forest ancientness: advocating for interdisciplinarity

Chapter 6: A toolbox to identify andcharacterize ancient forests in the French Massif Central

Chapter 7: On the ecology of ancient and recentwoodlands: the role of the historical approach

Chapter 8: Ancient forest and old-growth forestfrom the perspective of medieval and modern written sources. The case of the‘Bois de la Sainte-Baume’ (France, AD late 13th to early 19th centuries)

Chapter 9: Using a dendrochronological andarchaeological approach to understand timber uses and ancient forest managementin the southern French Alps over the last millennium

Chapter 10: Long-term forest evolution andwoodland uses in an ancient charcoal-production forest of the eastern FrenchPyrenees: an interdisciplinary approach at high spatio-temporal resolution


Part3: “At the edge of the forest”: other ways to think about ancient andold-growth forests

Chapter 11: The ‘recent’ forests of Mount Venda(Padua, Italy): when historical cartography and archaeobotany tell quite adifferent story

Chapter 13: Rejuvenating the elderly and agingthe youngsters: ancient management practices in continuously renewed native ashtree forests in the High Atlas of Morocco


Chapter 13: The ancient forests of theArgentinean Pampas: challenging old paradigms about a treeless landscape

Chapter 14: Root and branch: a communityarchaeology and palaeoecology approach to the investigation of a submergedforest at Pett Level, Sussex, UK


Conclusions- Reflections on interdisciplinarity in the social and natural sciences fromthe perspective of disciplinary frontiers in the face of a complex reality

     Forests: construction between nature and society

     Symbolism of the frontiers and dialogue between disciplines



 List of authors


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Language(s): English

Publisher: Éditions Quae

Edition: 1st edition

Collection: Update Sciences & technologies

Published: 30 november 2018

Reference eBook [ePub]: 02666EPB

EAN13 eBook [ePub]: 9782759229079

Interior: Colour

Size: 9,5 Mo (ePub)