Projets 2010

Dendrochronological Investigation of Agro-Pastoral Fire in the French Pyrenees

Porteurs du projet : Michael R. Coughlan – coughlan@uga.edu

Structure de rattachement : University of Georgia - Athens - USA

Web : XXXX

The proposed project forms a component of my dissertation research concerning the effects of shifting household economic strategies on agro-pastoral fire-use in the Pyrenees. Research will investigate the historical, social, and ecological aspects of agro-pastoral burning practices in the Vicdessos Valley of the central Pyrenees (Des Observatoires Hommes-Milieux Pyrenees, Haute Vicdessos) and in the Aspe and Barétous valleys in the Western Pyrenees. The specific objectives of Vicdessos portion the proposed research are to determine the feasibility of inferring pattern and process of agro-pastoral burning practices from the dendrochronological record in the Vicdessos Valley and to assess the value of correlating dendrochronological analyses with other proxies for human-induced environmental change.

The proposed research will sample fire-scarred trees in the area surrounding L’Etangs de Bassies, a high mountain pasture in Haute Vicdessos. Dendrochronological analysis of fire-scarred tree rings will be compared with sedimentary charcoal records collected by other researchers at this site in order to determine a fire history for the area. Analysis will then compare the composite paleo-fire record with ethnohistoical information concerning the seasonality, frequency, and extent of pastoral fire use from local sources as well as ethnographic research conducted in the Western Pyrenees where traditional burning practices continue.