Pedoanthracological studies are generally able to provide accurate spatial resolution on plant distribution. But what is the true spatial variability of the pedoanthracological data? This study uses high-resolution spatial sampling in two 0.5-ha sites (5 pits per 0.5 ha) to assess the heterogeneity of the results obtained by soil charcoal analysis at a small scale. The results show heterogeneous patterns of soil charcoal distribution in terms of concentrations and botanical assemblages. Soil charcoal concentration ranged between 128 mg·kg-1 and 3369 mg·kg-1. Plant identifications and anthracomass values were analyzed by principal component analysis (PCA). PCA showed that between 32% and 48% of variance can be explained by inter-pit variability. The high-resolution data obtained through a multisampling strategy is more reliable for the investigation of heterogeneity in soil anthracological assemblages. It is obvious that care is needed in the interpretation of data derived from the analysis of single samples.
Nomenclature: Tutin et al., 1964–1980.