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Coproduction of Food, Cultural Heritage and Biodiversity by Livestock Grazing in Swedish Semi-natural Grasslands
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Ecology, Environment and Plant Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-7580-5135
Number of Authors: 12022 (English)In: Frontiers in Sustainable Food Systems, E-ISSN 2571-581X, Vol. 6, article id 801327Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Livestock has been a backbone of people's livelihood as long as agriculture has existed in Scandinavia, c. 6,000 years. In the early Iron Age, c. 2,000 years ago, a land management system began to form, composed of infields (enclosed hay-meadows and crop fields) and outlying land used for livestock grazing. Despite many later innovations and societal changes affecting agricultural technology and practices, this way of organizing land use was a template for how landscapes were managed and structured until the modernization of agriculture and forestry during the last centuries. There are legacies of this historic land-use, mainly as semi-natural grasslands managed by livestock grazing (open or semi-open; long continuity of management; not much influenced by commercial fertilizers, plowing etc.). These semi-natural grasslands harbor an exceptional small-scale biodiversity, particularly plants and insects. Landscapes with semi-natural grasslands represent cultural heritage, and are appreciated for their beauty. The total area of semi-natural grasslands has declined considerably during the past 100 years, and the current trend suggest that further declines are expected. A large fraction of threatened biodiversity in Sweden thrives in these grasslands. Livestock grazing in semi-natural grasslands makes an important contribution to food production, and there is an increasing interest in consumption of products, mainly meat, from these grasslands. This implies that there is a positive feedback between food production, maintenance of biological diversity, and cultural heritage. This paper gives an overview of semi-natural grasslands, focusing on Sweden, from a historic, cultural and ecological perspective, and aims at discussing challenges and prospects for developing and maintaining positive associations between producing food, biodiversity, and cultural heritage, in the future.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2022. Vol. 6, article id 801327
Keywords [en]
conservation biology, land-use history, rural landscapes, shielings, species richness, sustainable food
National Category
Biological Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-203692DOI: 10.3389/fsufs.2022.801327ISI: 000763454300001Scopus ID: 2-s2.0-85125494733OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-203692DiVA, id: diva2:1650898
Available from: 2022-04-08 Created: 2022-04-08 Last updated: 2023-03-28Bibliographically approved

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