Author Topic: Forested area of Spain.  (Read 32265 times)

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Offline Technopat

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Re: Forested area of Spain.
« Reply #20 on: October 01, 2007, 23:49 PM »
Greetings All,
At first reading of Lisa's posting of the MMA's definition I missed the significance of the following:
Quote
así como las superficies que normalmente forman parte de la zona boscosa pero carecen temporalmente de población forestal a consecuencia de la intervención humana, por ejemplo la explotación, o de causas naturales, pero que se espera vuelvan a convertirse en bosque;

In other words, the official definition includes all the areas that are temporarily left bare after having been devastated by fire or used up by the wood/paper industries - that is, the figures might just add up if you count the land which should or could or did have trees growing on it and add it to all the land that actually does have trees growing on it.

That said, I'm sure that if you were to add up all the official figures you'd come up with an area larger than the surface area of the whole Ib. Pen. (see my previous posting on this thread re. hype) >:D

Regs.,
Technopat
Technopat's disclaimer: If this posting seems over the top and/or gets your goat (Sp. anyone?), please accept my apologies and don't take it personally - it's just my instinctive tendency to put my foot in it whenever/wherever possible. See also:
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Re: Forested area of Spain.
« Reply #20 on: October 01, 2007, 23:49 PM »

Offline SueMac

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Re: Forested area of Spain.
« Reply #21 on: October 02, 2007, 00:25 AM »
Now I have a problem  Clive who had a little accident has asked me to repost my last message on trees of this are or at least some of the points I was making. That's difficult with a brain like mine.  But I think I can remember the main points.
Firstly we have planted aleppos, pinetrees here that are endemic to the area and are flourishing under our care and especially as we have had good quantities of rain for this region this year and last.  This area was very badly hit three years ago by serious late frosts and just about killed everything in sight - that is hard to believe now helped I believe by our good husbandry and learning from our Spanish friends.
Which brings me to the second point - this area had suffered badly from people just walking off the land and abandoning just about everything.  Some still return for hunting or lease out which is a big source of irriitant because all they want in scrub land.
however there is a flourishing almond area here and people can come back just for weekends to look after those plantations.  As far as I am concerned there are areas usually on the north side of the hills which are flourishing with pine and oaks and olives and qualify as forest land to me. It is certainly being husbanded by foresters.  All of this is good in helping to stabiise a very fragile and unusual ecosystem.   There are also flourishing shrubs and trees here that cant be more Spanish for instance the pomegranate, the fig, carob, junipers, canes which are essential to house building techniques in this area.  We have planted silver leaf trees which are acting as wind breaks. Of course this land is too high for oranges or lemons. And not a gold course anywhere near us.  Think the nearest is about 25 kiometers away. Mostly Spanish people cant understand why we should want to live where we do. That probably goes for most British poeple for that matter.
Some money has been around to help this area in protecting Puerto Lumbrera like the Robinwood Project.   All this in the end will be for the general good. for both the natural environment and the people who live within it.The other side of our Cabeza de Jara is the begininng of the desert areas of Almeria They may be a natural occurring desert but the whole region is  still to some degree interdependent. So one does worry about what is happening on the other side of the mountain.
SueMac
 
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Offline steveT

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Re: Forested area of Spain.
« Reply #22 on: October 02, 2007, 02:18 AM »
Dear all/wildside and nick

This is a really interesting area. Just a couple of points. There was a paper written about 10 years ago plus, and featured in Quercus about past forest/tree cover in the Almeria area, and the conclusion was that there was probably more in the recent past than we think (Tabernas was still as it is today).....as did the Guadix area.

Quoting my Bible - 'The BP Mapa de Caraterras.......( You might think i'm joking but this old book is brilliant)'The Ebro valley area Bardenas Reales/Monte Olvete/Pana De Negra probably never had forest/tree but most of the rest of the Ebro valley was  sabina albares and pine forest, Sabinar de Pallaruello and La Retuerta de Pina are relic stands. Sabina albres was used as winter fodder for sheep and this was one of the reasons for deforestation here.

My point is that there are really probably only a very few localised places that probably never had forest/tree cover in Spain.

steveT
 




Offline Clive

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Re: Forested area of Spain.
« Reply #23 on: October 02, 2007, 12:08 PM »
So Steve.... You got to bite the bullet..

Is there more forest cover in the Iberian peninsula now than say 100, 500 or 1000 years ago?

I think there is less forest now but I am out voted by those guys in Europe what have studied it better..... :)

Clive
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Offline Technopat

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Re: Forested area of Spain.
« Reply #24 on: October 02, 2007, 13:30 PM »
Greetings All,
Any idea if Lisa's 100,000,000 trees have already been included in the mindless stats. official figures being bandied about?  :technodevil:

Surely the area they [will] cover would be existing forested land as defined by the powers-that b.* Which therefore means said trees don't/won't actually exist ... or is that logic too fuzzy? Virtual forests? Definition, anyone?

*Maybe I'm being too pessimistic here, but while we all know of cases in which protected land has been/is being de-protected in order to build ** - among other things, future feeding grounds for the voles forced into exile from C&L - aka gold courses - but I, for one, and please correct me if I'm wrong, have yet to hear of urban land being converted into a natural area and/or hotel complexes being knocked down.

Of course, there are a couple of cases in which houses have been knocked down for various reasons, but these were built in existing developments, and there are a couple of recent cases of prevarication in the courts of first instance ... >:D

Maybe this is not the right thread, but re. the above issue of courts, courts seem to be very willing, and agile, when it comes to evicting people who get behind in their mortgage payments, or squatters in abandoned buildings, etc., but are somehow slower and more thoughtful when it comes to knocking down someone's "chalet", however illegal, as they want to uphold the constitutional right to people having a home.

**Today, at last, the courts (of first instance  :dancing:) have admitted the case against Madrid's former regional minister for urban planning regarding a protected monte he had deprotected in order for it to be developed - by a company run by his wife. What's the betting on the statute of limitations coming into play in this case? Or former ministers - however regional - only being able to be judged by the Supreme Court. Or ...

Sorry for the rants: got up on the wrong side of the bed this morning.

Despondent-and-can-someone-please-post-a-nice-bit-of-cheerful-news-or-a-pic.-of-a-luridly-coloured-butterfly or-orchid-might-do-the-trick-regs.,
Technopat
« Last Edit: October 02, 2007, 13:35 PM by Technopat »
Technopat's disclaimer: If this posting seems over the top and/or gets your goat (Sp. anyone?), please accept my apologies and don't take it personally - it's just my instinctive tendency to put my foot in it whenever/wherever possible. See also:
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Offline steveT

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Re: Forested area of Spain.
« Reply #25 on: October 02, 2007, 22:57 PM »
Dear Clive,

Antes de morder la bala............I'd like to digress as I think it is an important point. I was reading Jared Diamonds book Collapse ( I much prefered his Guns, Germs and Steel - which I think is one of the most thought provoking books I've read -  If your interested in the realationship between history and geography it gets no better than this book  )...........anyway in the book he talks about forest husbandry in Japan and how the forests there, and there's loads has been managed for centuries - way back to the first millenia and perhaps beyond. This managing was extensive, very long term and even detailed to the last tree in some areas.....incredible!!!!!

My point is that we forget how important trees were in the past and that there was alot of land set aside, for long term forestry exploitation. Spain was no exception.....nowhere near the scale of Japan.......but when trying to find the location of timber for the Lepanto and Armada fleets by reading research articles ( I did not reslove this one ) .....it was clear that around the 1500s  Galicia, Asturias and the Barcelona  were areas where timber was being grown and cultivated in the time scale needed to produced big trees - this being done under royal decree or guidance ( apparently the incentive being monarchs investing in their dynasty ie timber = ships =power for the next in line )......I'm not so convinced but thats what I read. Interestingly alot of the managed forest was for industrial use smelting and other uses ie bricks and ceramics.

All this is poorly documented and some of the documents that do exist clearly indicate, that some at least of the forests were poorly managed. So we know little of the extent of managed forest cover for royal/national interests ............. my guess is it was small though. However each urban centre must have also had its timber source for construction ......... old Spanish buildings often use MASSIVE beams they had to come from somewhere.......Even so my guess is managed forest in Spain was probably small 1500 onwards.....but I could be wrong...but it is a factor all the same and one that is not often mentioned.


Back to the bullet......from what I've read I'd go for.........
 
100 years ago definately less trees

500  almost certainly less trees

1000 years ago almost certainly more trees

Just one more point if you look at Spanish paintings 500 - 100 y.a. hill sides/mountains always look fairly treeless ( same in Uk paintings ).....ok this proves nothing but worth noting.

Sorry if this rambled a bit..........steveT


Offline SueMac

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Re: Forested area of Spain.
« Reply #26 on: October 03, 2007, 10:46 AM »
Dear all

This debate is interesting but meaningless it seems to me unless it is described region by region given the immense size and weather variation of Spain. I thought Steve T starts to address some more important points.  In the south wood has always been precious in terms of building and explains the importance of aluminium production in this area.(If anyone is interested I have an arty photo among the five of Nogalte showing aluminium and bauxite in the rocks. See other post.
  It is quite funny that it was me who introduced my spanish builder firend to a reclamation yard for "massive" pieces" of old wood, run by English people.
Now this may please some and annoy Nick but again I have gone back to  chapter 2 in 'In Spain's Secret Wlderness" by Mike Tomkins who describes the Sierra Expuna in a visit in the 70s ie over 30 years ago and discusses with a friend how and why the park came about. He then takes a visit to ICONA (National Institute for the Conservation of Nature) to meet the Murcian  Director of the day.

I am going to try and quote it here because I think it helps reinforce my views already made (Apart from the fact I just love any excuse to talk about the Espuna)

........."At the turn of the century most of the area was owned by a man called Ricardo Codorniu who loved trees.  Few mountains in this hot dry arid region supported any trees and so he had made it his life's work, with a few helpers to stop soil erosion by planting trees throughout much of the Espuna range.  He planted mainly carasco pines black pines and white pines and these were complemented by acacias with lombardy and canadian poplars along the edges of five river beds.  While these 'rivers' were dry most of the year, only running with water when it rained heavily, the soil in them was damper than elseewhere.  Other seeds also took root in time so that there were now more than 30 species of tree including the beautiful flowering madronas juniper oak ash willow hawthorn to be found there.  Under their shelter variousgrasses and busses thrived because the trees reduced the power of the winds.  Planting was basically complete by 1929 and the Reserve was now run by the forestry engineers of ICONA.

The amazing result of all this was the return of a flourishing wild life.  Small mammals like mice and voles prospered.  Insects increased.  Hundreds of nest boses were hung in the trees. Rabbits fed on the new grasses multiplied rapidlly. Now that they had a larger food source the few foxes wildcats and genets in the area also thrived.  Young golden eagles drifting for miles as they lookeded for new territories found the rabbits lizard mice and voles and excellent nesting sites and so there were three nesting pairs returned to the area. There wer two oro three pairs of short-toed eagles.  Wild boar returned to the area.............
Carlos told me proudluy that the lessons in Espuna were now being applied to ither dry wildlife areas of Spain as more private lands came into ICONA's hands"

Rereading this myself I know that the Nogalte in 2007 isnt doing too badly at all - as long as we can keep the hunters at bay.

Perhaps I should be putting up a bid for the Espuna Project.

SueMac
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Offline Clive

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Re: Forested area of Spain.
« Reply #27 on: October 03, 2007, 12:03 PM »
Hi Sue mac and all,

Sue mac I don't necessarily agree with you when you say the debate is pointless unless taken region by region. As far as I am aware the ancient Mediterranean forest stretched across the whole of Andalusia and as far North as the southern slopes of at least the Sierra de la Demanda. That is a lot of forest...

In our recent trip one thing that we did notice was the presence of evergreen oaks pretty much everywhere we went. Further north they become replaced by deciduous sessile oaks and Pyrenean oaks. As we run South cork oaks and other southern shrubs become present. One of the most fascinating things was the coverage of the Cistus species wherever there were green oaks and the lygos went further north than Madrid. In many places remnants of this forest remain and in others it is very obvious to see it returning.

As for Mediterranean forest Nick has a brief paragraph at http://www.iberianature.com/spainblog/category/almeria/

This old forest must have been a huge resource and was cut down and systematically burned across the regions. Sometimes for fuel and building materials but probably the deforestation at that time was caused by feudal wars and land clearance. Nick is the expert on this but I believe the fear of wild animals and invaders drove the people to burn huga tracta of land that was covered in this type of forest cover...

The man made (planted) forest of Espuña is beautiful and I am due a visit over that way as soon as I get a chance but the fact remains that it is an artificial planting of trees that in the long run did not evolve in this part of the world

It is also a fact that many of the forest fires across Iberia are fires of "managed" non endemic woodlands that have not been managed properly or have had there status changed to "protected" which stops the workers from doing their job properly.

Clive
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Offline SueMac

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Re: Forested area of Spain.
« Reply #28 on: October 03, 2007, 13:05 PM »
Sorry Clive but what has the fact it is man made got to do with the price of eggs? Man has been manipulating or not since time immemorial.
I am pointing out that the dry regions need to be seen  differently from say Asturia - as we know climate matters and climate change is going to be even more of an issue requiring man to make decisions abou this country and others. I go back to pointing out that we are impacting on our environment by planting  in a very fragile environment - as are others.  You will notice from my posts we have more than our fair share of very interesting animal life.
SueMac
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Offline SueMac

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Re: Forested area of Spain.
« Reply #29 on: October 03, 2007, 13:37 PM »
I forgot to say that if you look at what "man" probably of Spanish or Portuguese descendence has done in the last 100 years (which seems to be a figure that appears to have some meaning) did in the Amazon basin against what Cordoniu and his friends did in the Sierra Espuna then give me man made forests every time.
Also one tree does not a forest make.... it is just an indicator or even possibly a snap shot of previous periods of natural history imho
SueMac
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Offline steveT

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Re: Forested area of Spain.
« Reply #30 on: October 04, 2007, 01:21 AM »
Dear Clive,

I wrote you a long reply yesterday and its  disappeared!!!!!! I'm sure I posted it......I don't know what happened.....sorry. Mind you it was a bit waffly so probably best it got lost in the ethers.

Bueno mordiendo la bala....

100 ya definately less trees.

400 ya almost cetainly less       D. Attenborough's the First Eden gives mid 16th century as a date when the old forest areas of Spain that existed then are effectly what we see today......but in the last 50 yrs there's been alot of new forest growth.

500- ya  possibly less

1000ya definately more


steveT

Offline Clive

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Re: Forested area of Spain.
« Reply #31 on: October 04, 2007, 11:22 AM »
Hey Steve, Your post is there scroll up 6 posts to find it.... :)

I think now we are getting somewhere by splitting up the time scales... It would make an interesting study to create new topics like "Iberia's wildlife and forests 1000 years ago"

For example it is only a few decades since the melting of the last glaciers on the Sierra Nevada which must be altering that area immensely.. i think the remnants now are 40 odd high altitude tarns where the sources were. trees and shrubbery will certainly start to expand in that region that in earlier years was above the "tree" line due to the colder temperatures. The same must be happening in the Sierra de la Demanda and the Pyrenees and other peaks above 2000 ish metres.

Do you have a particular link for info on Attenboroughs first Eden studies ?

Clive
« Last Edit: October 04, 2007, 11:29 AM by Wildside »
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Offline steveT

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Re: Forested area of Spain.
« Reply #32 on: October 05, 2007, 01:11 AM »
Dear Wildside,

The Book is one of his first or first....1987!!!!!!!!! ISBN 0-00-219827-4 The First Eden ........basically a natural history of the med basin from just after its creation to now..... it's excellent.

I agree the tree line must be moving up across Iberia........as are must all the vegetaion zones. And I guess this will spell the end also of some refugia.....eg the most southerly beech stand in Montejo (sistema central) or the yews that are clinging on to some of the highest peaks.......apparently some are really far south!......for example.

I read some where that nearly all the glacier/small ice fields that exist in Spain or have just melted in recent past, are effectively accumulations made during last mini ice age. And that there was no annual snow/ice accumulation since the end of the ice, until the mini ice age.......though I need to reseach ths to find out if it's true........which is an important consideration.

NB I'm sceptical because the ice age ends with several millenia of warming followed by  a 1000 yr cold snap 11500-10500 ya called the Younger Dryas and this produced huge new ice cover in Europe's mountains.....I had always thought that the year round ice fields/glaciers that exist or existed until very recently on Iberian mountains date from this point ( and clearly thru the last ice age)..... I'll look in to this......mind you Spain as all of Europe went through the Medieavil Warm Phase (circa 1000ya) ......this few centuries of warming might have melted ice accumulations on all Iberia mountains?

And yes a new topic would be great! ........perhaps also looking further back at auroch and bison extinction dates....and causes......as these hebivores must have had an impact on tree density......as the 'true' ( climatic climax) forests of Europe/ Spain are believed to have been more Savanah like and open.

steveT


Offline steveT

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Re: Forested area of Spain.
« Reply #33 on: October 16, 2007, 23:30 PM »
Dear Wildside........and anyone else whose interested,

I'm still following up your idea. I've read loads of stuff but haven't got clear or simple picture yet about fauna and forests in Spain circa 1000 AD. It seems that different areas have specific de and in some cases reafforestation histories........it's fascinating stuff......but I've got bogged down in forests the up to 6000 years ago time frame.

If your interested this a few basic bits.

After the ice age up to 6000 bp (before present) Spain was predominantly covered in 3 species of pine.

After this point, Spain for a few millenia it is warmer and wetter than present.

Broad leaved trees move in.

A similar distribution of tree species to today is established.....but it is not exactly the same as the climate is slightly different.

The first signs of burning for pasture are 4500 bp and in only a few locations, interestinly in the Sierra de la Culebra area ( Lobo Landia ).

Many first signs of burning for pasture are around the 2700 bp mark ( interestingly this ties in with Celtic migration - I think - did'nt read this though just me remembering a few dates).........though this varies and there is regrowth in many places ..... some times by one species that is more resistant to fire.........though I'm not clear on some of this.

Some clearance even this early is dramatic ie 'total' removal of forest from Sierras.

From Celto-Iberican times there is well documented climate variations on the 100s of year time span( one being for example the little ice age)......but human impact is by far the greater force on any change in forest and species distribution.

Several papers seem to point to several areas of current pine tree woodland that are currently thought to be 'man made', as now being considered to be relic or atleast relic with some human 'management'......and in many cases would be more extensive than previously thought.......ie that pine may be a more important native species than was previously considered.

This is as far as I've got, so far...............

steveT





Offline nick

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Re: Forested area of Spain.
« Reply #34 on: October 17, 2007, 11:16 AM »
This is great stuff Steve. Many thanks for your research
Nick
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Offline Sue

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Re: Forested area of Spain.
« Reply #35 on: October 17, 2007, 18:52 PM »
Hi SteveT,

some good info that you are researching here..

Quote
After the ice age up to 6000 bp (before present) Spain was predominantly covered in 3 species of pine.

..did they mention the scientific names of these 3 pine species??


Technopat and Clive will like this quote from Bosques de España
 "11 millones de hectáreas, hasta un total de 26 millones, están cubiertas por arbustos y se han clasificado como tierras forestales potenciales."

11 million hectares are classed as potential forest  So that counts as forest in political speak.

The site is brief and not up to date but talks about forest growth and decline through fire until 1997.

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Offline Technopat

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Re: Forested area of Spain.
« Reply #36 on: October 17, 2007, 19:35 PM »
Greetings Sue and All,
Thanx for that, Sue. The following struck me, of course:
Quote
Según el Segundo Inventario Forestal español (1995) España desde 1975 a 1995, ha ganado 400 000 hectáreas de arbolado, esto es un territorio equivalente a la superficie de la provincia de Pontevedra.
Aunque este dato no es totalmente fiable porque el criterio de lo que se considera como bosque ha sido algo distinto en 1995 de lo que fue en 1975, ...

(as in: "According to 2nd inventory (1995) Spain's forested land has increased by 400,000 hectares - equiv. in area to the province of Pontevdra - although this figure is not all that reliable as the criteria for defining forests have changed since the 1975 inventory ...")

Regs.,
Technopat
Technopat's disclaimer: If this posting seems over the top and/or gets your goat (Sp. anyone?), please accept my apologies and don't take it personally - it's just my instinctive tendency to put my foot in it whenever/wherever possible. See also:
http://www.iberianatureforum.com/index.php/topic,266

Offline steveT

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Re: Forested area of Spain.
« Reply #37 on: October 18, 2007, 02:12 AM »
Dear all,

Dominant 3 pines, before about 6000 bp were P. sylvestris, P. nigra and P. uncinata. Other trees were generally confined to refugia in the south and then migrated north eg other pines and evergreen and deciduous oaks.

One other very important factor was Spains huge altitude variations and the subsequent provision of many varied micro climates and hence refugia for trees.

steveT

Offline nick

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Re: Forested area of Spain.
« Reply #38 on: October 18, 2007, 11:07 AM »
Here's a map I found in the excellent La Diversidad Biologica de España, various authors, Prentice Hall. Available in my local Poble Sec library and presumably elsewhere

It shows idealised vegetation distribution at the last glacial maximum at end of the last (Wurm) Ice Age, at 18,000 years BP. The serrated edge indicates today's coastline, with the coastline shown the result of the fall in sea level of 100 metres.

According to the book, much of Spain is steppe. The cold steppe is treeless, while the continental steppe has scattered Pinus and Juniperus.

The Mediterranean flora and presumably the lynx, the black vulture and the rest are pushed into a corner of Southwest Iberia, and a bit of the Ampordán.

We could go back further to the creation of the typical Mediterrean flora, but for the moment this could be our year zero.

I want to bash this all together into a proper article soon.
Nick
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Offline Clive

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Re: Forested area of Spain.
« Reply #39 on: October 18, 2007, 11:35 AM »
Thanks Nick... I reckon that you are right and this is as far back as we should go... 18,000 BP (before present)...

Let's step forward in increments of 1000 years and see what we come up with...?

looking at that map above I can guess that as the ice retreats northwards the Atlantic and Mediterranean forest moves in to colonise the warming areas...

Clive
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