Restorations: Mending Heritage Landscapes and Biodiversity
How can we balance wilding agricultural land to increase biodiversity, while maintaining the cultural heritage within landscapes? Is it possible to prevent, halt and reverse the degradation of ecosystems, while restoring culture too? What issues are at stake in the UN Decade on Restoration?
Photo: Different management regimes, Shetland, by Karen Lykke Syse
Diverse ecosystems are pivotal for human and planetary well-being. Yet, they are being degraded at an alarming rate and pace, threatening both livelihoods and biodiversity. Many of the landscapes in need of restoration are extreme versions of so-called cultural landscapes, landscapes that have been impoverished in terms of biodiversity due to human activities, poisoned through enthusiastic use of pesticides, exhausted of organic matter through chemical fertilisation. Forest and woodland have been changed to farmland or planted with non-native commercial timber, and the impact of humans has had severe consequences. On the other hand, traditional cultural landscapes have changed dramatically due to lack of human impact – sometimes resulting on one hand to richer biodiversity, but on the other hand a loss of specific eco-systems which rely on human impact. Meadows or grazed heathland, and networks of paths, trails and footways, are palimpsest of past use that tell stories of pedestrian and a more than human heritage of movement. This collaborator will address restoration issues concerning wilding and re-enculturing ecosystems.
Since 2021, the collaboratoy organizes a seminar series every semester with guest speakers and panel discussions to present interesting perspectives and research on heritage landscapes. The series follows the four elements, fire, water, earth and air, to explore specific types of landscapes in their connection to each other.
Are you interested in contributing to the next seminars, relating to “earthscapes, firescapes, or airscapes”? Please contact us!
Mending Waterscapes: Restoring salmon rivers connected to the Oslo fjord,
The destruction and pollution of rivers running into the Oslo fjord was a precondition for early urbanisation. This seminar explores intersections and tensions that exist between how the historical, cultural and natural sciences approach the restoration of these river landscapes.
Introduction: Mending landscapes, 29.11.2021
With an introduction to the seminar series, this event aimed to answer the following questions:
- How can we balance wilding agricultural land to increase biodiversity, while maintaining the cultural heritage within landscapes?
- Is it possible to prevent, halt and reverse the degradation of ecosystems, while restoring culture too?
- What issues are at stake in the UN Decade on Restoration?
This hybrid seminar featured four speakers and their focus on landscape restorations:
Dagmar Hagen, Senior Scientific Researcher at Norwegian Institute for Nature Research, spoke about ecosystem restoration and whether it is possible to restore nature, specifically regarding landscapes in Norway.
Håkon Stokland, researcher at the Department of Terrestrial Biodiversity at the Norwegian Institute for Nature Research, discussed restoration, transformative change and learning from past efforts.
Véronique Simon, researcher at the Norwegian Institute for Cultural Heritage Research, presented on the possibility for balancing natural and cultural heritage.
Dag Jørund Lønning, professor of creativity and rural development and rector at The University College for Green Development in Bryne, focused on the promise of regenerative land-use.
The panel discussion was led by Dag O. Hessen, professor at the Center for biogeochemistry in Anthropocene.