The disappearance of cultural landscapes: the case of wooded-meadows in the Ligurian Apennines (NW Italy)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The “wooded-meadows system” is a multifunctional use of vegetation resources widespread in Europe
since the Neolithic, and well documented in the Ligurian Apennines (NW Italy) between the Middle
Ages and the first half of the 19th century. The management of wooded-meadows included: collection
of fallen and dead branches in spring, later used for fuel; mowing and grazing in summer; collection of
secondary products; making sheaves from branches in autumn, later used as cattle and sheep fodder;
coppicing, pollarding and cutting of trees in winter.
Three sites located in eastern Ligurian Apennines were studied by means of an interdisciplinary
approach in order to better understand the impact and the consequences of this historical landuse
practice on vegetation structure and composition. In particular, based on specific features of
palynological diagrams, it was possible to conclude that (compared to the post-cultural phase) when the
wooded-meadows system was in use, all the sites were characterized by: (1) lower pollen percentages
of trees; (2) higher pollen percentages of shrubs and herbs; (3) higher percentages of anthropogenic
pollen indicators; (4) higher values of palynological richness.
This research also represents a contribution to issues of nature-conservation policy for the preservation
of cultural landscapes.


External organisations
  • University of Genoa
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Archaeology
  • Physical Geography
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)157-167
Number of pages11
JournalInterdisciplinaria Archaeologica
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Dec 2
Publication categoryResearch