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1017 Evolution of the_rural_landscape_of_great_britain

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Landscape evolution

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1017 Evolution of the_rural_landscape_of_great_britain

  1. 1. Understanding where we are now, so we can plan for the future Evolution of the rural landscape of Great Britain
  2. 2. All about meanings <ul><li>In reverse order: </li></ul><ul><li>Great Britain - why the geographical restriction? </li></ul><ul><li>Landscape - what does it really mean? </li></ul><ul><li>Rural - what does that mean? </li></ul><ul><li>Evolution - can a landscape evolve? </li></ul>
  3. 3. Great Britain: the major island of the archipelago of the British Isles <ul><li>It is home to most of us </li></ul><ul><li>It is an island </li></ul><ul><li>Its landscape has a recognised “starting point” </li></ul><ul><li>It has some of the most varied landscapes in the world </li></ul>
  4. 4. During the last Ice Age <ul><li>Britain and Ireland part of continental Europe </li></ul><ul><li>Most of the “country” under kilometres of ice </li></ul><ul><li>The ice retreated approximately 10,000 years ago </li></ul><ul><li>The land was scraped clean rock </li></ul>
  5. 5. 10,000 years ago modern people arrived <ul><li>Sea levels rose +100m </li></ul><ul><li>Ireland became an island first and still has far fewer native species as a result </li></ul><ul><li>Great Britain was populated by Neolithic hunter-gatherers </li></ul><ul><li>The English Channel cut off Great Britain around 8,000 years ago </li></ul>
  6. 6. <ul><li>Great Britain approximately 5,000 years ago </li></ul><ul><li>A forested island with a very small population of hunter gatherers. </li></ul><ul><li>This “wildwood” is considered the “natural state” of the British landscape prior to the arrival of agriculture </li></ul>After Rackham 1997 p 34
  7. 7. Wildwood no longer exists in Great Britain Bialowieza National Park, Poland
  8. 8. <ul><li>Agriculture changed everything </li></ul><ul><li>European agriculture grew from its invention in Iraq around the end of the Ice Age in northern Europe </li></ul><ul><li>It arrived in Britain around 6,000 years ago, after it became an island </li></ul><ul><li>Southern Britain became one of the major grain and wool producing provinces of the Roman Empire </li></ul><ul><li>The basic nature of the current British landscape was established then. </li></ul>Source UCL 2009
  9. 10. The British Landscape <ul><li>Naturally forested </li></ul><ul><li>Heavily modified by human activity </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Clearing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cropping </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Grazing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Draining </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Building… </li></ul></ul>
  10. 12. What does Landscape mean? <ul><li>Some general definitions </li></ul><ul><ul><li>an expanse of scenery that can be seen in a single view </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>painting depicting an expanse of natural scenery </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>an extensive mental viewpoint; &quot;the political landscape looks bleak without a change of administration </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Scientific definitions: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Any combinations of ecological, environmental and geographical systems which are in equilibrium. Combinations of plants, animals, climate and geography which are only found in certain places and not elsewhere </li></ul></ul><ul><li>None of these is what we mean when we talk about landscape management. </li></ul>
  11. 13. Characteristic landscape <ul><li>In the context of land management, landscape can be defined as: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A contiguous area of land of any size which has common characteristics throughout its extents which distinguish it from other areas of land. </li></ul></ul>
  12. 14. Types of characteristic landscapes <ul><li>A characteristic landscape usually has a qualifying descriptor, e.g. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>a forest landscape </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>an industrial landscape </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>a pastoral landscape </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>a polluted landscape </li></ul></ul>
  13. 15. Defining the landscape character <ul><li>All land is part of one or more landscapes </li></ul><ul><ul><li>An area of cultivated land in Wales might be seen as part of a farming landscape and of a mountain landscape </li></ul></ul><ul><li>A land manager is usually predominantly interested in one character landscape </li></ul><ul><li>You will be primarily interested in the rural landscape </li></ul>
  14. 16. What does Rural mean? <ul><li>Countryside? </li></ul><ul><li>Farmland? </li></ul><ul><li>Forests? </li></ul><ul><li>In America: officially areas with less than 250 people per km 2 </li></ul><ul><li>OED “in or of or suggesting country” </li></ul>
  15. 17. Nested landscapes Rural Urban Natural Aquatic Global landscape Terrestrial landscape Managed landscape Built landscape
  16. 18. Landscapes are not simple, nested shapes
  17. 19. Rural landscapes <ul><li>Managed, non-urbanised landscapes </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Agriculture </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Forestry </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Grasslands </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Moorlands </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Water collection </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Small built areas </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Transport networks </li></ul></ul>
  18. 20. Can non-living landscapes evolve ? <ul><li>Some definitions of evolution </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A gradual process in which something changes into a different and usually more complex or better form </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The process of developing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A movement that is part of a set of ordered movements </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Systems subject to selective temporal change </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Some changes are successful and lead to further change </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Some changes are unsuccessful and lead nowhere </li></ul></ul>
  19. 21. Landscapes do evolve <ul><li>Landscapes change over time </li></ul><ul><li>Natural selection would result in Great Britain returning to its primeval forested state </li></ul><ul><li>Human selection, often unwitting, results in the varied, changing landscapes we see today </li></ul><ul><li>Landscape management is the intentional, professional attempt to manage that selection process </li></ul>
  20. 22. The evolution and perception of the rural landscape of Great Britain
  21. 23. Further reading <ul><li>Rackham, O. (2003) An Illustrated History of the Countryside 3 rd ed Orion Publishing Co </li></ul><ul><li>John Piper on line </li></ul><ul><li>http://www.johnpiper.org.uk </li></ul>

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