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      What is biological cultural heritage and why should we care about it? An example from Swedish rural landscapes and forests

      Nature Conservation

      Pensoft Publishers

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          Abstract

          There is currently a growing concern that biocultural heritage is threatened in many landscapes. This paper focuses on biological cultural heritage, broadly meaning biological cultural traces that are considered as heritage, but leaving out other aspects of the biocultural heritage concept. An operational definition of biological cultural heritage (BCH) is suggested, based on niche construction theory: “biological manifestations of culture, reflecting indirect or intentional effects, or domesticated landscapes, resulting from historical human niche construction”. Some factors that influence recognition of BCH are discussed, using a comparison between Swedish open to semi-open vs. forested landscapes. While the former landscapes are generally associated with biological cultural values, BCH is generally over-looked in forests. Two main reasons for this are suggested: loss of cultural memory and a perception of forests as wilderness. A conclusion is that recognition of BCH is essential for guiding development of biological conservation programmes in forests, irrespective of whether the conservation goal is to focus on culturally impacted forests or to conserve what is considered as close to pristine forests. Furthermore, recognising BCH in forests will promote interest and learning of the history of forests and their values and will be informative for developing conservation programmes for all biota in forests, not only those that historically were favoured by culture. Hence, there is no inherent conflict between preserving relatively untouched forests and those with remaining traces of pre-industrial forest management. The recognition of BCH in forests will inspire and promote further integration of cultural and natural heritage research.

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          Most cited references 122

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          Domesticated nature: shaping landscapes and ecosystems for human welfare.

          Like all species, humans have exercised their impulse to perpetuate and propagate themselves. In doing so, we have domesticated landscapes and ecosystems in ways that enhance our food supplies, reduce exposure to predators and natural dangers, and promote commerce. On average, the net benefits to humankind of domesticated nature have been positive. We have, of course, made mistakes, causing unforeseen changes in ecosystem attributes, while leaving few, if any, truly wild places on Earth. Going into the future, scientists can help humanity to domesticate nature more wisely by quantifying the tradeoffs among ecosystem services, such as how increasing the provision of one service may decrease ecosystem resilience and the provision of other services.
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            Ecology. Whose conservation?

             Georgina Mace (2014)
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              HISTORICAL LANDSCAPE CONNECTIVITY AFFECTS PRESENT PLANT SPECIES DIVERSITY

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Nature Conservation
                NC
                Pensoft Publishers
                1314-3301
                1314-6947
                July 05 2018
                July 05 2018
                : 28
                : 1-32
                Article
                10.3897/natureconservation.28.25067
                © 2018

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