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Landscape Anthropology in European Protected Areas

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... In Europe, the Industrial Revolution generally led to the breakdown of natural resources exploitation by rural societies and to the progressive abandonment of traditional landscapes (Vidal- González, 2014), a process that became a major threat for the conservation of species linked to these ecosystems. Since the mid-twentieth century, further changes have taken place in Europe's rural landscape, resulting in additional land use changes, including the abandonment of agricultural lands. ...
Article
Through traditional practices that typically impact the surrounding natural areas, rural communities worldwide have created and maintained landscapes forming a diverse mosaic of species-rich habitats. In Europe, where a high portion of species is dependent on the persistence of traditional rural landscapes, the progressive abandonment of agricultural activities has been often accompanied by a biodiversity decline, although the precise implications of landscape transformation for species and habitat conservation are not sufficiently well-known. This study applies ethnobiological and historical data collection methods (i.e., semi-structure interviews, participation in public meetings, literature review, and participant observation) to examine changes in traditional management practices and local perceptions of impacts on ecosystems diversity derived from the abandonment of traditional land uses in a mountain region in Spain that preserved a complex traditional farming system until the mid-20th century. Data were analysed using qualitative content analysis and quantitative data analysis methods. Our results illustrate that traditional management practices, such as hay making, pastoralism of small ruminant livestock, lopping, prescribed burns, gathering of firewood, branch beating, or beekeeping, are locally perceived as favourable to habitat diversity. Our study also reveals that local perception of landscape changes in the area dovetails with scientific information, providing further understanding of the particular ecological implications of each underlying driver of land use change identified. We conclude that the combination of local and scientific knowledge on ecological dynamics can help in the development of effective regional conservation strategies based on management practices simultaneously favourable to biodiversity and economically profitable. Our study provides evidence that rural communities can be a valuable source of information to document landscape historical dynamics and to monitor environmental changes, which might be particularly relevant for landscape-orientated conservation policies aiming to prevent the biodiversity loss resulting from the abandonment of traditional land uses.
... These institutionalised examples of what the French call patrimonialisation (heritization, capitalisation of the local heritage) show the role pastoralism plays in shaping local identities (and tourist packages) in a number of EUMed regions, thus creating the room for diversifying employment and income opportunities for pastoral households. These examples also show how opportunities to expand and diversify livelihoods could be forged by playing with and through local identity and cultures (Barrachina, 2007;Brisebarre et al., 2009;Vidal-González, 2014). ...
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PASTRES - exploring the uncertainty * pastoralism interfaces: Herding through uncertainties – regional perspectives, analysing the drivers of uncertainty for herders in six pastoral regions in the globe; available at: https://cadmus.eui.eu/handle/1814/64165
Chapter
PASTRES exploring the uncertainty * pastoralism interfaces: Herding through uncertainties – principles and practices, analysing pastoralists’ strategies to cope with and adapt to the uncertainties embedding their livelihoods. available at: https://cadmus.eui.eu/handle/1814/64228
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