The Toledo Mountains: A Resilient Landscape and a Landscape for Resilience? Hazards and Strategies in a Mid-Elevation Mountain Region in Central Spain
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AuthorLuelmo-Lautenschlaeger, Reyes; Pérez Díaz, Sebastián; Blarquez, Olivier; Morales-Molino, César; López-Sáez, José Antonio
The Toledo Mountains are a mid-elevation mountain range that separates the Tagus and Guadiana basins in the central area of the Iberian Peninsula. The location of these mountains allows the development of typical Mediterranean vegetation with some Atlantic influence. Consequently, typical broadleaved evergreen Mediterranean vegetation currently dominates the regional landscape, with the remarkable presence of more mesophilous species in sheltered and more humid microsites such as gorges (e.g., Prunus lusitanica, Taxus baccata, Ilex aquifolium) and mires/bogs (e.g., Betula pendula susbp. fontqueri, Erica tetralix, Myrica gale). Palaeoecological studies in these mountains are essential to understand the long-term ecology and original distribution of these valuable communities and are key to assess their resilience. Understanding the hazards and opportunities faced in the past by the plant communities of the Toledo Mountains is necessary to enhance the management and protection of those species currently threatened. This study focuses on El Perro mire, a peatland on the southern Toledo Mountains (central Spain) where climatic variability has played a major role in landscape dynamics at multi-decadal to millennial timescales. Climatic events such as the 4.2 ka cal. Before Present (BP) or the Little Ice Age triggered relevant landscape changes such as the spread and latter decline of birch and hazel forests. Human communities also seemed to be affected by these events, as their resilience was apparently jeopardized by the new climatic conditions and they were forced to find new strategies to cope with the new scenarios.