Thematic framework

Wooded rural landscapes are an invaluable natural and cultural legacy of Central and Eastern Europe. A concentration on particular, strictly classified natural sites or plant communities, national and European conservation systems ignores, neglects or undervalues the meta-systems of dynamic rural landscapes dependent on the multiple traditional use of land. Intensive farming and modern forestry, accompanied by the development of conservation models based on segregated land-uses, mean that there are now ‘hard’ boundaries, both philosophically and physically, between spatial units of economic or conservation interest. Despite the increasing knowledge of the role of dynamic processes in the well-being of populations and ecosystems, these boundaries cause substantial reduction of horizontal movements of species. As a result, what had once developed as highly dynamic patchy landscapes, have started to shift towards mostly static and much simplified spatial patterns. In addition, the boundaries discourage researchers from seeing the landscape as a whole; instead, they may concentrate on just what happens inside one patch or type of patch.

Objective:

The conference aims at fostering interdisciplinary discussion and analysis. We seek to encourage the sharing of knowledge from researchers studying wooded rural landscapes and representing from across disciplines: from taxonomy and ecology, from paleo-ecology and environmental history, from ethno-ecology, from spatial planning and landscape architecture, from land use economy involving ecosystem services. We believe such a platform will provide a theoretical foundation for the development of a new management and conservation approach that is essential for sustaining the richness and values of wooded rural landscapes in Central and Eastern Europe.

Thematic scope:

  • Wooded pastures and silvo-pastoral woods: their status in contemporary Europe (abundance and geographic distribution, syntaxonomic status, conservation); ecology (including ecological history, paleoecology, processes and factors); their biodiversity; how they will fare under climate change
  •  Local and traditional knowledge connected to wooded rural landscapes: gathering and using the wisdom of farmers, herders, conservationists or others
  • Wooded landscapes in contemporary land use economy and policies: what does modern farming and forestry, tourism and recreation, nature conservation, landscape architecture and spatial planning need from these systems.
  • Towards future sustainable social-ecological systems: assessment of ecosystem services in the region, the cultural heritage: threats and opportunities in eco-development.