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The origin and use of agricultural grasslands in Europe

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Chapter Summary

The description of the history of grassland in agricultural systems in Europe is complicated by the lack of clear evidence about this subject. Written, palaeo-ecological or archaeological sources do not provide much information. Grassland plants were only rarely transported to prehistoric sites where plant remnants could be detected during excavations. Many grassland plant species are not exclusive to grasslands, but also occur in natural woodlands, crop fields and their edges and especially fallow land. Thus, pollen analytical records of grassland species cannot be taken as clear evidence for the presence of grassland as such. This implies that many statements concerning the early history of grasslands can be given on the basis of practical deliberations. Settlements became stable inside the states, which spread over Europe from the period of classical antiquity to early modern time. This means that in periods of resource shortages, goods had to be imported by trading.

Keywords: Europe agricultural systems; Europe settlements; grassland plants



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