We collect palaeoecological, archaeological, historical and vegetation ecological sources of information on woodland cover, species composition, and human activities (e.g. management, settlement density) over the past 7500 years. Information is stored in the form of a geodatabase built using Microsoft Office Access and ArcGIS softwares. Combining data of different origin, scale, accuracy and detail into a single database is a challenging task. Because data with varying degree of spatial precision are gathered, separate layers are being built for each type of data. The data are located using coordinates (sampling points) or cadastres as basic units, with metadata on data source and author stored as attributes. The level of detail and spatio-temporal resolution as well as information content vary between layers and individual records according to the nature of the data source and the data itself. In the case of historical sources, the limited and incomplete sources of information until ca. 1500 AD allow for only a coarser view on forest changes. From the Early Modern Period onwards higher numbers of sources provide detalied data on spatial and temporal changes in forest structure, species composition and management. The past ca. 180 years are covered by large amounts of precisely located ecological and historical data.
Geodatabase layers, arranged according to the time period (from oldest to youngest) are:
- Palaeoecological – providing information on woodland cover and plant species composition from palynological records.
- Archaeological – providing information on human settlements based on the archives of the Institute of Archaeology, ASCR, Brno, and metadata on plant macro-remains from archaeological contexts extracted from the Archaeobotanical database of the Czech Republic (http://www.arup.cas.cz/czad/).
- Historical – providing several types of information from general data on forest presence and extent to details on forest species composition and management.
- Vegetation ecological – providing information on forest structure and ecological characteristics (e.g. canopy openness, soil chemistry, soil moisture and temperature) focusing on forest understorey, measurements from permanent plots and repeated phytosociological releves.
Based on the geodatabase, we will create a spatio-temporal forest landscape model assessing the changes in woodland and the role of humans in vegetation history. We will relate the data and the model to the environmental factors (soil type, climate, elevation and other topographic variables) and social historical data to analyze the main drivers of stability or change. The analytical results will be compared to the approaches currently employed in vegetation ecology, forestry and nature conservation using comparative sources, such as:
- Map of Potential Natural Vegetation
- Map of Reconstructed Vegetation
- Habitat mapping for Natura 2000
- species distribution extracted from the Czech National Phytosociological Database (Chytrý & Rafajová 2003, http://www.sci.muni.cz/botany/vegsci/dbase.php?lang=cz)
- Forest inventory and Regional Plans of Forest Development