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Biodiversity and Land Abandonment:  Connecting Agriculture, Place and Nature in the Landscape
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology (INK).
2010 (English)In: Landscape, identities and development / [ed] Roca, Zoran, Springer , 2010Chapter in book (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This paper considers how cultural and social-centric norms influence the management and the meaning of land abandonment and biodiversity in rural landscapes. We describe historically, geologically, ecologically and socially diverse landscapes in three international case studies.  In Australia, rural land abandonment after only 150 years of European agriculture is associated biophysically with salinity, erosion and acidification.  It triggers a potential loss of place and identity for a nation still imagining a frontier past. Trading water away from the land and deregulation of production regimes due to WTO imperatives may create the opportunity for regeneration of indigenous flora and a new identity associated with conservation values.  In Sweden land abandonment reflects entrenched agricultural landscapes of over 1000 years.  Their landscape biodiversity is considered unique and in need of preservation in the face of aging farmer populations and the realities of food imports making production regimes non-viable. Sustainability appears to be associated with maintaining production regimes strongly linked to local cultural identity and sense of place.  In Portugal agricultural land abandonment in the north seems to offer a chance for oak forest regeneration and improved biodiversity outcomes. Identity here is associated with remembered landscapes prior to EU entry and re-imagining landscape connections built on previous cultural ties. In all three cases we consider what this interplay between natural and cultural landscapes will mean to their local communities; and using the historical and cultural lens, examine the theoretical ecological and sociological platforms surrounding the discourse on land use change.  We consider the benefits from interdisciplinary and international comparative research providing local-global insights that emerge to suggest common larger narratives of place and culture despite divergent histories of settlement and cultivation.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer , 2010.
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-52991OAI: diva2:389535
Available from: 2011-01-19 Created: 2011-01-19 Last updated: 2011-01-24Bibliographically approved

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Lindborg, Regina
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