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Evolution of the_rural_landscape_of_great_britain

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Evolution of the_rural_landscape_of_great_britain

  1. 1. Evolution of the rurallandscape of Great BritainUnderstanding where we are now, so we can plan for the future
  2. 2. All about meaningsIn reverse order:• Great Britain - why the geographical restriction?• Landscape - what does it really mean?• Rural - what does that mean?• Evolution - can a landscape evolve?
  3. 3. Great Britain: the major island of the archipelago of the British Isles • It is home to most of us • It is an island • Its landscape has a recognised “starting point” • It has some of the most varied landscapes in the world
  4. 4. During the last Ice Age • Britain and Ireland part of continental Europe • Most of the “country” under kilometres of ice • The ice retreated approximately 10,000 years ago • The land was scraped clean rock
  5. 5. 10,000 years agomodern people arrived • Sea levels rose +100m • Ireland became an island first and still has far fewer native species as a result • Great Britain was populated by Neolithic hunter-gatherers • The English Channel cut off Great Britain around 8,000 years ago
  6. 6. • Great Britain approximately 5,000 years ago• A forested island with a very small population of hunter gatherers.• This “wildwood” is considered the “natural state” of the British landscape prior to the arrival of agriculture After Rackham 1997 p 34
  7. 7. Wildwood no longer exists in Great Britain Bialowieza National Park, Poland
  8. 8. • Agriculture changed everything • European agriculture grew from its invention in Iraq around the end of the Ice Age in northern Europe • It arrived in Britain around 6,000 years ago, after it became an island • Southern Britain became one of the major grain and wool producing provinces of the RomanSource UCL 2009 Empire • The basic nature of the
  9. 9. The British Landscape• Naturally forested• Heavily modified by human activity – Clearing – Cropping – Grazing – Draining – Building…
  10. 10. What does Landscape mean?• Some general definitions – an expanse of scenery that can be seen in a single view – painting depicting an expanse of natural scenery – an extensive mental viewpoint; "the political landscape looks bleak without a change of administration• Scientific definitions: – 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• None of these is what we mean when we talk about landscape management.
  11. 11. Characteristic landscape• In the context of land management, landscape can be defined as: – A contiguous area of land of any size which has common characteristics throughout its extents which distinguish it from other areas of land.
  12. 12. Types of characteristic landscapes• A characteristic landscape usually has a qualifying descriptor, e.g. – a forest landscape – an industrial landscape – a pastoral landscape – a polluted landscape
  13. 13. Defining the landscape character• All land is part of one or more landscapes – An area of cultivated land in Wales might be seen as part of a farming landscape and of a mountain landscape• A land manager is usually predominantly interested in one character landscape• You will be primarily interested in the rural landscape
  14. 14. What does Rural mean?• Countryside?• Farmland?• Forests?• In America: officially areas with less than 250 people per km2• OED “in or of or suggesting country”
  15. 15. Nested landscapes UrbanGlobal landscape Built landscape Aquatic Natural RuralTerrestrial landscape Managed landscape
  16. 16. Landscapes are notsimple, nested shapes
  17. 17. Rural landscapes• Managed, non-urbanised landscapes – Agriculture – Forestry – Grasslands – Moorlands – Water collection – Small built areas – Transport networks
  18. 18. Can non-living landscapes evolve?• Some definitions of evolution – A gradual process in which something changes into a different and usually more complex or better form – The process of developing – A movement that is part of a set of ordered movements• Systems subject to selective temporal change – Some changes are successful and lead to further change – Some changes are unsuccessful and lead nowhere
  19. 19. Landscapes do evolve• Landscapes change over time• Natural selection would result in Great Britain returning to its primeval forested state• Human selection, often unwitting, results in the varied, changing landscapes we see today• Landscape management is the intentional, professional attempt to manage that selection process
  20. 20. The evolution and perception of the rural landscape of Great Britain
  21. 21. The evolution and perception of the rural landscape of Great Britain
  22. 22. The evolution and perception of the rural landscape of Great Britain
  23. 23. The evolution and perception of the rural landscape of Great Britain
  24. 24. The evolution and perception of the rural landscape of Great Britain
  25. 25. The evolution and perception of the rural landscape of Great Britain
  26. 26. Further reading • Rackham, O. (2003) An Illustrated History of the Countryside 3rd ed Orion Publishing Co • John Piper on line http://www.johnpiper.org.uk

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