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What is biological cultural heritage and why should we care about it? An example from Swedish rural landscapes and forests
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Ecology, Environment and Plant Sciences.
Number of Authors: 12018 (English)In: Nature Conservation, ISSN 1314-6947, E-ISSN 1314-3301, no 28, p. 1-32Article, review/survey (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

There is currently a growing concern that biocultural heritage is threatened in many landscapes. This paper focuses on biological cultural heritage, broadly meaning biological cultural traces that are considered as heritage, but leaving out other aspects of the biocultural heritage concept. An operational definition of biological cultural heritage (BCH) is suggested, based on niche construction theory: biological manifestations of culture, reflecting indirect or intentional effects, or domesticated landscapes, resulting from historical human niche construction. Some factors that influence recognition of BCH are discussed, using a comparison between Swedish open to semi-open vs. forested landscapes. While the former landscapes are generally associated with biological cultural values, BCH is generally over-looked in forests. Two main reasons for this are suggested: loss of cultural memory and a perception of forests as wilderness. A conclusion is that recognition of BCH is essential for guiding development of biological conservation programmes in forests, irrespective of whether the conservation goal is to focus on culturally impacted forests or to conserve what is considered as close to pristine forests. Furthermore, recognising BCH in forests will promote interest and learning of the history of forests and their values and will be informative for developing conservation programmes for all biota in forests, not only those that historically were favoured by culture. Hence, there is no inherent conflict between preserving relatively untouched forests and those with remaining traces of pre-industrial forest management. The recognition of BCH in forests will inspire and promote further integration of cultural and natural heritage research.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018. no 28, p. 1-32
Keywords [en]
Conservation biology, Domesticated landscapes, Niche construction, Semi-natural grasslands, Wilderness, Wood pastures
National Category
Biological Sciences
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-158189DOI: 10.3897/natureconservation.28.25067ISI: 000437331400001OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-158189DiVA, id: diva2:1234222
Available from: 2018-07-23 Created: 2018-07-23 Last updated: 2018-07-23Bibliographically approved

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