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Land 2014, 3(1), 300-321; doi:10.3390/land3010300

Historical Landscape Perspectives on Grasslands in Sweden and the Baltic Region

1
Department of Ecology, Environment and Plant Sciences, Stockholm University, SE-106 91 Stockholm, Sweden
2
Department of Physical Geography and Quaternary Geology, Stockholm University, SE-106 91 Stockholm, Sweden
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 18 December 2013 / Revised: 5 March 2014 / Accepted: 7 March 2014 / Published: 13 March 2014
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Landscape Perspectives on Environmental Conservation)
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Abstract

A landscape perspective is generally recognized as essential for conservation biology. The main underlying reason is that species respond to features of the landscape at various spatial scales, for example habitat area, connectivity, and matrix habitats. However, there is also an “historical” component of a landscape perspective, which has not received similar attention. The underlying reasons for historical effects are that humans have influenced landscapes during several millennia and that species and communities may respond slowly to land use change. An historical perspective on landscapes also relates to how we perceive “natural” vs. “cultural” landscapes, and thus how conservation actions are motivated and valuated. We review studies from Sweden and the Baltic region in the context of an historical landscape perspective, focusing on semi-natural grasslands, i.e., grasslands formed by long-term human management for grazing and hay-making. Semi-natural grasslands are today a high concern for conservation. Historical effects are ubiquitous on species distributions and patterns of species richness, and have important implications for developing informed conservation programs in semi-natural grasslands, particularly with regard to assumptions of historical baselines, the choice of conservation targets, and insights on time-lags in the response of species to current landscape change. View Full-Text
Keywords: conservation baselines; extinction debt; historical ecology; remnant populations; semi-natural grasslands conservation baselines; extinction debt; historical ecology; remnant populations; semi-natural grasslands
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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Eriksson, O.; Cousins, S.A.O. Historical Landscape Perspectives on Grasslands in Sweden and the Baltic Region. Land 2014, 3, 300-321.

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