MENDELU scientists participate in the protection of the French Nature Park Morvan

9. 1. 2023

At the French archaeological excavation site of Bibracte, scientists from the Institute of Geology and Pedology of LDF MENDELU participate in European research. Their goal is to propose suitable measures for the protection and adaptation of the local forests. The excavation site is located on the territory of the Morvan Nature Park, part of the massive is also Mont Beuvray and an important ancient Celtic oppidum, already mentioned by Julius Caesar in his texts. To this day, the location has preserved the character of the ancient foothills rural landscape with a mosaic of forest, agricultural and water areas. A diverse scientific community strives for its preservation.

“As part of the Forestry Lab Bibracte project, in which the National Forests of France, the University of Dijon, the University of Orléans and the Morvan Natural Park are involved, our task is specifically to obtain information on the soil cover and other abiotic factors affecting the current forests on a large area of ​​almost 900 hectares of the Bibracte massive so that we can propose appropriate measures for their protection and adaptation,” explained Aleš Bajer, who has already participated in archaeological excavations in the Celtic oppidus in the past as a geoarchaeologist.

Last year, researchers dug out 21 soil probes, now soil analyzes are underway. At three locations, they placed meteorological stations that continuously measure temperature and humidity conditions at three depths in the soil and two meters above the ground. The data obtained will form the basis for determining appropriate measures in the Bibracte forest complex to preserve the character of the sparsely populated area. People here are engaged in traditional activities such as agriculture and forestry, partly tourism, there is no industrial production in the locality.

Our research is part of a larger research that should contribute to the cultivation of forests on the territory of Bibracte that will be maximally adapted to the ongoing climate change, so they will fulfill an economic function, but also other non-production functions, for example soil protection, water retention, and in last but not least, the genius loci of the territory will be preserved,” Bajer highlighted the importance of the research.

The current forest in the Bibracte massive can be divided into five groups: spruce monocultures, which are almost completely cut down today, fir monocultures with an occasional admixture of Douglas fir, and Douglas fir monocultures. In the upper parts, there are bare beech trees and a mixture of deciduous trees – beech, oak, hornbeam, sometimes with an admixture of fir. “The uniqueness of our research lies, among other things, in the fact that it is the first permitted non-archaeological interventions in the intravillan of the oppida, i.e. inside the walls. A number of samples were taken for analysis, I believe that the results of the analysis will help to interpret the development of the oppida area after it was abandoned by the original inhabitants,” supplied Bajer.

Next field research at the site is planned for late spring 2023. In addition to further excavations of soil probes, the scientists are also planning research into the light conditions of the studied sites. In 2007, the Bibracte site received the Grand Site de France label from the French Ministry of the Environment, which has so far been awarded to only a few dozen sites throughout France. The mark is a guarantee of the harmony between environmental protection, the needs of local residents and visitors in a given heritage-protected locality.

Contact member for more information: doc. Mgr. Aleš Bajer, Ph.D., Department of Geology a Pedology LDF MENDELU,, +420 775 331 666

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