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24, chemin de Borde Rouge –Auzeville – CS52627
31326 Castanet Tolosan CEDEX - France

Dernière mise à jour : Mai 2018

Menu Logo Principal Logo des organismes co-organisateurs (Inra, CNRS, AgroParisTech, Université de Lorraine) Logo partenaire privé Usine d'Electricité de Metz LabEx ARBRE LabEx DRIIHM Deepsurf

Historical Ecology; HEF2020; International conference;historical legacies;ecological trajectories; geography;archeology;paleoecology;economy;biology

Excursions Offers

Excursions Offers
Excursions and visits are a valuable opportunity to learn how forest research is being conducted in the nearby regions of east of France. We are offering the participants four technical and cultural experiences on 28th May 2021.
Grassland - excursion 1

#1 - Historical land use, vegetation dynamics and conservation management of calcareous grasslands of the Moselle’s Valley

Calcareous grasslands are among the most biodiverse and valued natural areas in Europe. In the present context of European agriculture and its evolution, they are also among the most threatened areas. Their preservation requires a thorough knowledge of the ecology of these environments, but also an understanding of their evolution, whether recent or remote. We will visit two sites that overlook the valley of the Moselle River between Metz and Nancy, in the municipalities of Arnaville and Malzéville. With the assistance of the association of nature conservation of Lorraine (CENL -, which is in charge of the conservation of several calcareous grasslands, we will examine the current state of both places in connection with the research that has been conducted on their historical evolution. We will also discuss the management of these sites on which biodiversity can be threatened as much by their abandonment as by an excessive anthropic intervention.  

Related publication:

Burst M, Chauchard S, Dupouey J-L, Amiaud B, 2017. Interactive effects of land-use change and distance-to-edge on the distribution of species in plant communities at the forest-grassland interface. Journal of Vegetation Science 28, 515–526.

Xavier ROCHEL (LOTERR – Lorraine University) and Sandrine CHAUCHARD (SILVA – Lorraine University)

logos excursions 1
Northern Vosges landscape history

#2 -Charcoal production, landscape history and wetland biological conservation of the Northern Vosges low mountain range

The Northern Vosges is a low mountain range area under with semi-oceanic climate, on sandstone substrate, and covered by woodland (mainly oaks, beech and pine) and with small-scale wetlands. For several years, investigations about forest and landscape trajectories have been conducted there based on pollen records from peat-bog sequences and charcoal analyses from charcoal production sites. Exciting results have emerged recently that show the considerable impact of human activities on local ecosystems dynamics that are related first to agriculture activities, on a millennial scale, and to then to local industries (glass manufacturing and forges) during recent centuries. During this excursion, we will visit woodlands to look for ancient platforms of charcoal production, using LiDAR maps. With the guidance of the manager of the nature reserve of the “Rochers et tourbières du pays de Bitche” (, we will visit peat bogs to discuss about landscape changes and conservation issues, passing by Middle Ages’ castle site.   

Related publication:

Gocel-Chalté D, Guerold F, Knapp H, Robin V, 2019. Anthracological analyses of charcoal production sites at a high spatial resolution: the role of topographical parameters in historical tree taxa distribution in Northern Vosges Mountains (France). Vegetation History and Archaeobotany. Accepted, In Press.

Vincent ROBIN (LIEC) & Loïc DUCHAMP (Regional Natural Park of the Northern Vosges)

Forest history of the Lorraine plateau

#3 -Past resources use and forest history of the Lorraine plateau

Evidence of the agricultural use during Roman or Medieval times of forested areas that were formerly considered to be ancient, as well as legacies of this former land use on plant biodiversity and soil properties have encouraged the search for archives of former land use in forests. Thus, over the last 10 years, several archives and related indicators have been investigated on the Lorrain Plateau. Some small closed depressions near the Seille and Sarre valleys were cored for sediment, pollen and ancient DNA analyses in order to reconstruct patterns of former land use. More recently, soil charcoal analyses of samples from mature oak stands were conducted to reconstruct the forest’s history, with an emphasis on the ecological niche of Quercus versus Fagus. During this excursion, we will visit forest sites on the Lorrain Plateau and examine the soil trench and   “mardelles” (forest-pound) for subsequent discussion of the main results and conclusions of the local investigations.    

Related publication:

Etienne D, Ruffaldi P, Dupouey J-L, Georges-Leroy M,  Ritz F, Dambrine E, 2013. Searching for ancient forests: A 2000 year history of land use in northeastern French forests deduced from the pollen compositions of closed depressions. The Holocene 23, 678-691.

David ETIENNE (CARRTEL – Chambery University) & Thomas FEISS (INRA – LIEC)

Haye forest

#4 -Long term past land use and modern days consequences in the Haye forest and Soundings

In Western Europe, forest areas have been expanding rapidly since the 19th century, mainly on former agricultural land. Previous studies show that the plant diversity differs between these recent forests and ancient forests that were already forested at the time of first national cadastral surveys around 1800. In the Haye Forest, to the south-west of the city of Nancy, we investigated the duration of such agricultural aftereffects. There, and also at regional scale, large areas were deforested during the period of Roman occupation and abandoned to forest thereafter. We show that species’ richness and plant communities vary with the intensity of the former agriculture. These variations are linked to long−term changes in chemical and structural soil properties. Hence, we suggest that such effects of past agricultural land use on forest biodiversity may be irreversible on an historical time scale. During this excursion, we will visit ruins of Gallo-Roman farms that were investigation sites in our study. We will observed in-situ and discuss marks of past land used with the support of LIDAR data.    

Related publication:

Dupouey J-L, Dambrine E, Laffite JD, Moares C, 2002. Irreversible impact of past land use on forest soils and biodiversity. Ecology 83, 2978–2984.


See also

  • During each excursion, several stops will be opportunities for presentation and discussion about on-site ongoing or past research in historical ecology and others related topics.
  • In the registration form, participant will have to select three excursions among the four proposed.
  • For each excursion, transportation on-site will be organize by buses from the conference venue and lunch will be provide.