Rethinking agricultural land abandonment to create socially responsive and biodiverse landscapes

Project leader

Funding source

Formas - The Swedish Research Council for Environment, Agricultural Sciences and Spatial Planning

Project Details

Start date: 01/01/2009
End date: 31/12/2011
Funding: 2070000 SEK


The abandonment of agricultural landscapes is an increasing trend in western nations. The implications for biodiversity are well documented as market forces, environmental degradation and aging populations combine to depopulate marginalized areas. In this project we consider the implications for management of these transition landscapes. We hypothesise that categorising these lands as abandoned has affected the understanding of their ecological and social role. Biodiversity conservation includes preservation, restoration and protected areas. However, there is little evidence that this approach will ensure ecosystem services and biodiversity values over time because the social structures and drivers for abandonment are rarely integrated into future scenarios. We will investigate how the different perspectives on abandonment influence management and assess the possibility for innovative practices linking social structures with ongoing management. Using case studies from Sweden, Portugal and Australia where we have substantial field experience and are well integrated with researchers, government and communities, we develop a practice framework for managing ordinary landscapes. Methods include in-depth interviews, biodiversity sampling, assessment of ecosystem services and land use analysis. By bringing different study cases together in a framework it is possible to overcome current limitations and better support changes to policy and practice as well as climate change.

External Partners

Last updated on 2017-24-03 at 12:53