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Historical and Current Niche Construction in an Anthropogenic Biome: Old Cultural Landscapes in Southern Scandinavia
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Ecology, Environment and Plant Sciences.
Number of Authors: 1
2016 (English)In: Land, ISSN 2073-445X, E-ISSN 2073-445X, Vol. 5, no 4, 42Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Conceptual advances in niche construction theory provide new perspectives and a tool-box for studies of human-environment interactions mediating what is termed anthropogenic biomes. This theory is useful also for studies on how anthropogenic biomes are perceived and valued. This paper addresses these topics using an example: old cultural landscapes in Scandinavia, i.e., landscapes formed by a long, dynamic and continuously changing history of management. Today, remnant habitats of this management history, such as wooded pastures and meadows, are the focus of conservation programs, due to their rich biodiversity and cultural and aesthetic values. After a review of historical niche construction processes, the paper examines current niche construction affecting these old cultural landscapes. Features produced by historical niche construction, e.g., landscape composition and species richness, are in the modern society reinterpreted to become values associated with beauty and heritage and species' intrinsic values. These non-utilitarian motivators now become drivers of new niche construction dynamics, manifested as conservation programs. The paper also examines the possibility to maintain and create new habitats, potentially associated with values emanating from historical landscapes, but in transformed and urbanized landscapes.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2016. Vol. 5, no 4, 42
Keyword [en]
biodiversity, conservation biology, landscape aesthetics, semi-natural grasslands, wooded meadows
National Category
Earth and Related Environmental Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-140261DOI: 10.3390/land5040042ISI: 000392501200001OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-140261DiVA: diva2:1081969
Available from: 2017-03-15 Created: 2017-03-15 Last updated: 2017-11-29Bibliographically approved

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