Large-scale reconstruction of ancient forest vegetation by anthracology - a contribution from the Black Forest
We started to analyse systematically remnants of earlier mining and charcoalburning activities from the Black Forest. A first synoptic overview of anthracological results is given for 200 kiln sites with special regard to regional and local aspects of the anthropogenic influence and of the natural diversity of site conditions, forest vegetation and offering of wood. Qualitative and quantitative information is deduced on the tree species combinations of the forests exploited and on the natural frequency of the tree species at different forest sites and in different forest communities. The anthracological results are compared with the current site conditions and the present-day forest vegetation. All of the tree species to be expected for the natural conditions were found in the material analysed. The frequencies of the wood species exploited also reflect a natural situation: The tree species of the climax vegetation were mainly used and all other species were quantitatively unimportant. The anthracological results of the individual sites show many differences in the combination and frequency of the species as well as regular distribution patterns on a large scale. These patterns can be explained by natural differences in the site conditions in the vicinity of the sites studied. A pronounced dependency of the charcoal production on the local natural offering of wood is discernible. Indications for selection of distinct tree species and for forest degradation could not be found. The natural offering, the complete exploitation of remote forest areas and the restricted possibilities of wood transport were important criteria for fuel wood exploitation. Moreover, no indications of shortages of wood or of import of wood or charcoal into the investigation area could be found.