The Lateglacial and Postglacial terrestrial pollen records from Southern Europe, numerous and widespread in contrasting environments, are useful to reconstruct vegetational dynamics and main climatic trends as well as rapid changes. The forests began to spread at ca. 10500 radiocarbon years BP, with important regional differences in timing and extension of tree populations. All the tree taxa present today (apart the exotic ones) were found in the region at least since the end of the last glacial. They expanded, showing dynamics and timings which deserve further investigations, from multiple refugia located at different elevations. Vegetation changes, probably climate induced, are found at most sites; for a better understanding of this phenomenon the chronological setting of the records must be improved. A weak signal, hardly detected, is found in correspondence of the 8200 cal. years BP (ca. 7500-7400 uncal. years BP) north Atlantic event. A slow trend towards aridification began in western and central regions of Southern Europe around 7500-7000 uncal. years BP. In the last five thousands years it became more evident and widespread. In the last few millennia both anthropic and climate forcing can be considered as concomitant causes for the degradation of much of the forests and for the establishment of the present-day landscape.
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